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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
BREAKING NEWS: French police say man took hostages at bank, fired shot in southern city of Toulouse
Tensions have been higher than usual in Toulouse since
March, when a gunman whom police said claimed links to al-Qaida killed
three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers in the area.
Those were France's worst terrorist attacks in years.
hostage-taking began about 11 a.m. (0900GMT) at a CIC bank branch in
central Toulouse, a Toulouse police official said. The official said a
single shot was fired but no injuries have been reported so far.
official could not confirm the report on France's BFM television that
the hostage-taker claimed ties to al-Qaida. The official spoke on
condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the
The neighborhood around the bank is cordoned off. Calls to the CIC bank branch went unanswered.
also reported that four hostages were inside _ the bank branch director
and three others _ and that the hostage-taker wanted the elite RAID
police force to come negotiate with him.
The RAID police force led
a 32-hour standoff with Frenchman Mohamed Merah, whom police say was
behind the March shootings, in his Toulouse apartment. Merah was shot in
the head in a gunfight at the end of the standoff.
French authorities described Merah as an Islamic radical who had trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.