A man armed with a gun was holding three people hostage in a bank in northern France on Thursday, officials said, and two police union sources said the gunman was believed to have Islamist ties.
An elite tactical unit of the French police was on its way to the scene in the port of Le Havre, police said.
A representative of the national police told Reuters the hostage-taker had initially seized six people at the bank, but two had subsequently been released. It was unclear if a third person was released or had escaped.
The police representative said the hostage-taker was a 34-year-old man with a history of mental health problems. The man’s weapon was a handgun, police said.
One of the two union sources said the hostage-taker was known to law enforcement authorities and was on a security service watch list.
“We know that he has been radicalized and suffers a serious psychiatric illness,” Yves Lefebvre, head of the SGP Unite police union told Reuters.
A highly-placed police source said the man holding the hostages had made statements in support of the Palestinian cause. He had also asked for a motor scooter and access to social networks, the police source said.
Police have cordoned off the area are urging the public to stay clear of the bank on Boulevard de Strasbourg in the city centre, the local prefecture said.
Le Havre is a town of around 170,000 people on the English channel, about 200 km north-west of Paris. The town’s new mayor is Edouard Philippe, President Emmanuel Macron’s former prime minister who resigned in early July.
Trump’s attempt to checkmate Biden on his son’s sobriety made him look woefully out of touch: columnist
During the Tuesday debate, President Donald Trump attacked Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter for being a recovering drug addict. A profound column by The Atlantic's Adam Serwer explained that not only was it cruel, but it makes Trump woefully out of touch with Americans and says more about his relationship with his children than anything.
"The moments after your first child is born are humbling and overwhelming, the emotional equivalent of staring directly into the sun," wrote Serwer. "You realize that you are suddenly responsible for a human life that you helped create, a sliver of two souls smuggled into another body, a person you will love and protect desperately for the rest of your life."
White man insists he’s not racist after shooting up Black family’s home
A Michigan man is facing nine criminal counts in the wake of a violent campaign of intimidation against a Black family who are his neighbors, but he insists he's not racist and wants the family to forgive him, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Michael John Frederick, Jr., who is white, is accused of firing multiple gunshots into the home and vehicle of the family, writing graffiti on their vehicle and slashing tires.
“I am extremely regretful of what I did,” he said of his attacks against Eddie and Candace Hall. “I can say it’s not like me. I acted way out of character. This wasn’t about the color of anyone’s skin.”
Right-wing Facebook pages are spreading a fake Kamala Harris quote — that actually came from Trump
Several right-wing Facebook pages have been spreading a quote that supposedly comes from Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, but which actually came from President Donald Trump.
According to FactCheck.org, the Facebook pages have been pairing Harris's image with a quote that reads, "Take the guns first, go through due process second -- I like taking the guns early."
In fact, the quote came from Trump after the mass shooting that left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida in 2018.