French hostage crisis over, Suspect arrested

Paris, June 13 :A four-hour hostage standoff in central Paris ended as police arrested the armed suspect and rescued all of the captives safe and sound, France’s interior minister announced.

“All the hostages are safe and sound,” Gerard Collomb said in a brief statement. At least two people had been held.There was no indication of an extremist motive, police said.

The French interior minister later said the suspect was arrested and his hostages freed — some four hours after holing up in a building in central Paris.The Paris prosecutor’s office detained the suspect, a 26-year-old man born in Morocco, a judicial official said. It was not immediately clear if he had French nationality.

Police said the armed man who took hostages is being interrogated on multiple counts, including kidnapping and sequestration, attempted homicide and violence with a weapon.French police sources  said earlier that there was no indication the hostage-taker’s motive was terrorism.

Online publication Actu17 said that the hostage-taker claimed to be in possession of two bombs and had asked to speak with the Iranian ambassador in Paris and with the French government.

Other press accounts said that the perpetrator was armed with a knife.

An armed man took two people hostage for four hours after holing up in a building in central Paris.

Heavily armed elite force crime unit BRI reached the site and the area was evacuated and the street, rue des Petites Ecuries, was cordoned off.

Apart from elite force, police officers, firefighters and rescue workers were also stationed outside the building where the hostages were held, located in a crowded neighborhood in the center of the French capital.

“The individual has been arrested and the hostages are out of danger,” Gerard Collomb wrote on Twitter, praising police, especially the elite BRI unit, for their “professionalism and responsiveness.”

The incident began around 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the offices of an unspecified media organization, an Interior Ministry spokesman told EFE, adding that the perpetrator took at least three people captive.

 

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