Armed man takes multiple hostages in Toulouse, southern France


Police have surrounded the store where a man has taken four people hostage, and evacuated the area

French police say an armed man has taken multiple hostages in a store on the outskirts of Toulouse.

A police spokeswoman said four hostages were taken in a convenience store in Blagnac, near Toulouse airport.

She said it’s too early to rule out terror without knowing the hostage-taker’s demands.

According to local news site La Depeche du Midi, the hostage taker is 17-years-old.

Police have surrounded the store and the area has been evacuated. According to television reports from France 3, the hostage-taker has demanded to speak to a negotiator.

The man seized the hostages at 4.20pm (2.30pm GMT/3.30pm BST). Security services said as of 7.10pm (5.10pm GMT/6.10pm BST) the hostage-taker had not “shared a claim”.

The hostage situation is near Toulouse airport

Police tweeted: “Ongoing police operation on the port plan sector in Blagnac – please avoid the area and respect the perimeter of the security.”

Reuters has reported the man fired at least one shot over the heads of elite RAID officers, while other sites suggest up to three shots have been fired.

Neighbour Robert Texier said: “It’s worrying. It all happened so quickly.”

He said the store has been run for decades by a woman and her daughter who live in the adjacent building.

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