Wednesday 15th August, 2018
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Paris police rescue people taken hostage by armed man

Sheetal Sukhija - Wednesday 13th June, 2018

PARIS, France - Ending a four-hour long standoff in central Paris, the French special forces arrested an armed man, who took two people hostage on Tuesday.

The incident took place in the Rue des Petites Ecuries, when the man, who claimed to have explosives and a pistol with him, reportedly doused two people including a pregnant woman with petrol.

He then took them hostage inside a building that houses the offices of a tech company in the French capital as authorities were alerted. 

An ambulance, the bomb squad and French special forces rushed to the spot and evacuated the entire street, putting a cordon in place.

Soon, more than a dozen heavily-armed officers, firefighters and rescue workers arrived outside the building where the hostages were being held.

As the areas was being cordoned off, authorities tried to negotiate with the man.

Many photos and videos of the scene unfolding in the narrow street of the French capital soon appeared online, showing the area being surrounded by armed officers and numerous police cars.

Police said that the man demanded that he be put in touch with Iran’s Ambassador in the city, Abolghasem Delfi, to deliver a message to the French government.

Soon the anti-terrorist police surround the Mixicom computer store in the city’s 10th arrondissement, which is close to the Gare du Nord Eurostar hub.

Officials said that almost four hours after the man took his captives into the building, officers from the elite Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) arrived on the scene with an armoured screen and stormed into the building.

Police soon arrested the man and freed the two people taken captive by the man.

Officials said that they could not confirm if the man was armed, but a police source revealed that the man appeared to be brandishing a fake weapon.

Police sources have stated that the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related and that the attacker “appeared to be psychologically disturbed.”

Officials said, “He is now in custody after a relatively easy arrest, during which no one was hurt. The hostages are safe and in good health."

Local reports revealed later that before taking two people captive, the attacker had a brief fight with another man, who rushed out of the building, and raised the alarm. 

The man was wounded in the face, after being hit with a wrench.

As the incident unfolded, an eyewitness Philippe Grasset posted pictures of the standoff on Twitter.

Grasset wrote, "Police stand ready to intervene.”

The French Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb confirmed on Twitter, "The individual has been arrested and the hostages are out of danger.”

An interior ministry official was quoted as saying in local media reports, "His demands were really vague and incoherent. The negotiator had difficulty understanding."

Officials have not revealed the name, age, appearance or nationality of the hostage taker but said that they had opened an investigation and were trying to understand the exact motives of the assailant.

In recent years, Paris has suffered a number of terrorist attacks, with mainly young men launching attacks after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.

Last month, an armed man killed a 29-year-old civilian and left four others injured in Paris after shouting “Allahu akbar.”

The man was shot by the police and ISIS claimed the attack.

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