Police officers stand near the site of an ongoing hostage situation in central Paris
Paris (AFP) - Dozens of police officers converged on a street in central Paris on Tuesday after an armed man took hostages, police sources said.
The man was “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.
Map of Paris locating the Rue des Petites Ecuries in the 10th arrondissement
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 in Paris last month in which one person was killed.