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Paris police in ‘hostage taking’ standoff with armed man

Dozens of police officers converged in an area of central Paris on Tuesday in response to a “hostage taking” situation by an armed man, police sources said.

The man is “armed and holding at least two people,” a source told AFP, adding that “the situation is quite confused” but did not appear to be terrorism-related.

“Based on our initial investigations it could be a mentally unstable person whose motivations are still unclear,” another source said.

A spokesman for France’s BRI intervention brigade said negotiations with the man were underway.

The standoff began around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT), with BFM television reporting that the man had entered the offices of a start-up company on the Rue des Petites Ecuries, a gritty area of the bustling 10th arrondissement.

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At least one man was lightly injured while fighting with the hostage-taker and escaping before the BRI officers arrived on the scene, a police source said.

Crowds of bystanders were held back by a security perimeter at the site, where police and rescue workers were massed, deploying at least one remote-controlled robot on tracks toward the building where the armed man had barricaded himself.

France has been on high alert after a series of jihadist attacks in the past three years, most recently a Saturday night knife attack by a man in Paris last month in which one person was killed.

(AFP)

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