A hostage taking is under way in a post office in Colombes, a suburb of northwest Paris. According to police, an armed man is currently detaining two hostages, but they insisted there was no link to terrorism. The man is known by the authorities, and had contacted the police himself, they said. Police are in communication with the man, trying to talk him into giving up the hostages.
According to local Socialist MP Alexis Bachelay, the man was carrying out an “armed robbery”.
The man, known to police for previous criminal offences, phoned emergency services claiming he was “heavily armed with grenades and a kalachnikov”, AFP reported. Newspapers Le Figaro and Le Monde reported that the man was equipped with a military weapon.
“He phoned number 17 [the French emergency number] saying rambling things,” a source said, adding that no shots had been fired.
The man is reportedly “mentally unstable and acted after failed relationship,” according to France Info. Witnesses said he entered the post office at 12.30pm local time and some customers were able to escape. He is now inside with two hostages.
The area around the post office has been sealed and access to Colombes via the A86 has been blocked by police.