A gunman believed to have Islamist ties held three people hostage in a bank in northern France Thursday, where bomb squad officers arrived at the scene following the possibility that the man was armed with explosives, Reuters reported.
French authorities told Reuters that the gunman had initially taken 6 people hostage in Le Havre, a town 124 miles north-west of Paris, but had released three. The hostage-taker was armed with a handgun, and there is a bag possibly containing explosives at the scene, according to Reuters.
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The hostage-taker is reportedly a 34-year-old man with a history of mental-health problems, and was known to law enforcement. He was on a security service watch list and had made statements in support of the Palestinian cause, a source said according to Reuters. (RELATED: French Government Uses Terror Attack To Push Protesters To Go Home)
???? Le Havre: trois personnes restent prises en otage pic.twitter.com/JhIVgvjqqF
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“We’ve identified him. He’s on a watchlist. We know that he has been radicalised and suffers a serious psychiatric illness,” Yves Lefebvre, head of the SGP Unite police union, told Reuters.