A gunman has taken ‘at least five women hostage’ inside a tobacco shop on the outskirts of Toulouse, France, according to local reports.
The armed suspect threatened to fire at French police as they rushed to the scene in Blagnac, near Toulouse airport.
The incident occurred around 4pm, and witnesses reported hearing at least two shots about an hour-and-a-half into the hostage situation.
Locals said they had been urged to stay in their homes and close their shutters.
A local newspaper reported that all the hostages are women.
A spokesperson for the police said: ‘A security perimeter has been placed around the scene and people are being asked to avoid the area.
‘There are fears that the hostage taker has threatened to shoot the police, and he should not be approached under any circumstances. He is holding five hostages and asking to speak to a negotiator.’
French media sites are reporting that the man is wearing a GoPro camera and is demanding to speak to a negotiator.
The shop, on Plan Du Port, has been owned by a local family for five decades.
Officials said it is too early to rule out terrorism without knowing the hostage-taker’s demands, but police sources said the incident looked more like a ‘robbery gone wrong’.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and elite RAID police officers are at the scene.
This is an ongoing incident… more to follow when we know
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