Armed criminals raided a clothing store near Paris on Monday, holding several people hostage inside.
The gunmen took mainly staff members as hostages inside the Primark store at Villeneuve-la-Garenne near the French capital city, according to The Local.
"Around 6:30 am (0530 GMT), two or three armed criminals went into the Primark store for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery," a police source told news agencies.
The police evacuated 18 people from the Qwartz mall, where the Primark store is located.
- The gunmen are likely to be hiding inside the mall, The Local reported. One of the gunmen is said to be an employee of the Primark store.
- CCTV cameras at the Qwartz mall show the gunmen entering but not leaving, according to local media reports.
- The gunmen have reportedly escaped from the store and are on the run, according to The Express.
- There are no reports of injuries as the hostage crisis seems to be ending following the evacuation of 18 people from the mall . However, one of the rescued people is reportedly 'ill'.
- One of the three gunmen has been recognised as an employee at the Primark store, French newspaper Le Parisien has reported.
- 18 people have been evacuated, say police.
#BREAKING French special forces evacuate 18 people from mall after gunmen attack: police
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 13, 2015
- Several policemen have reportedly entered the Primark stored and are said to be engaging with the gunmen, according to The Telegraph.
- About 18 people have come out of the store and are being questioned by the police, according to reports.
- The police have shut traffic in the vicinity of the store, and other shops in the area have also closed down, as per local media.
- The hostages are said to be the staff of the Primark store, which is located in the Qwartz commercial centre, according to The Local.
- It is not clear if the attack is terror-related, as local reports suggest it was a case of robbery that turned into a hostage situation.
The incident comes days after an Islamist attack in which a man beheaded his boss at an American gas company in France's Grenoble, and put up Islamic flags at the scene.
Earlier this year in January, two gunmen gunned down the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, while one man held several people hostages inside a Jewish kosher market and killed some of them before being shot dead.