Left Menu
Development News Edition

Hostage taker surrenders outside French bank, all six captives unharmed

A gunman who took six people hostage in a bank in northern France on Thursday surrendered to elite police after a six-hour operation to free his captives. The hostage-taker, a 34-year-old with a history of mental illness, emerged slowly from the building wearing a balaclava and with his hands turned palms-up, before officers with their weapons raised moved in and handcuffed him.

Reuters | Updated: 07-08-2020 03:46 IST | Created: 07-08-2020 03:46 IST
Hostage taker surrenders outside French bank, all six captives unharmed

A gunman who took six people hostage in a bank in northern France on Thursday surrendered to elite police after a six-hour operation to free his captives.

The hostage-taker, a 34-year-old with a history of mental illness, emerged slowly from the building wearing a balaclava and with his hands turned palms-up, before officers with their weapons raised moved in and handcuffed him. All the hostages were unharmed, though in shock, said Denis Jacob of the Alternative police trade union.

Bomb squad officers acted after the man told officers there were explosives in a bag. He had been armed with a handgun, a national police representative told Reuters. The man initially took six people hostage. Five were subsequently released and the sixth taken to safety after the man was arrested, according to Jacob.

The hostage-taker was believed to have Islamist sympathies, two police union officials said, but there was no official confirmation of this. Militant attacks have shaken France in recent years, with four police officers killed in an October 2019 knife rampage in Paris and 130 people killed by coordinated bombings and shootings in the capital in November 2015.

Yves Lefebvre, head of another police union, SGP Unite, said the hostage-taker in Le Havre, a town of around 170,000 people on the English Channel, was known to law enforcement authorities and on a security service watch list. "We know that he has been radicalised and suffers a serious psychiatric illness," he said.

Another source, a senior police official, said that during the incident the man spoke in support of the Palestinian cause. He walked out of the bank with what appeared to be a green-coloured flag draped around his shoulders. Police had cordoned off the area around the bank on Boulevard de Strasbourg, a wide thoroughfare in the centre of Le Havre.

An employee at a Burger King outlet about 100 metres from the bank said police had told them to lock an entrance on the same street as the hostage-taking but not ordered them to shut. When the fifth hostage was freed, a man in a pink shirt could be seen in Reuters television footage being led away from the bank by a police officer in full protective gear.

"Very proud and grateful," former prime minister Edouard Philippe, now Le Havre's mayor, wrote on Twitter in praise of the police. The hostages were seized in a branch of Bred bank, a mid-sized lender, on the ground floor of a six-storey residential building. (Additional reporting by Benoit Van Overstraten, Richard Lough, Caroline Pailliez and Tangi Salaun in Paris; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Tom Brown and Daniel Wallis)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Well-timed HRs carry Indians past White Sox

Carlos Santana belted a go-ahead two-run homer and Jose Ramirez went deep for the fifth time in five games to lift the host Cleveland Indians to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Cleveland 30-24, which has won four of its ...

Mexico surpasses 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, actual toll unknown

Mexico surpassed 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday even as health authorities cited what they described as nearly two months of slowing infection rates.On Monday, the Health Ministry reported 2,917 new confirmed cases of the nov...

Walsh's grand slam propels Angels over Rangers

Jared Walsh hit a grand slam to highlight a seven-run fourth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels took three of four from the Texas Rangers with an 8-5 win on Monday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif. Walsh, a rookie first baseman, is hitting .375 ...

New Zealand paraglider's death in Nevada ruled accidental

The body of a well known paraglider from New Zealand has been recovered from a mountainous site in a remote part of Nevada, a sheriff said Monday. Sheriff Jesse Watts said a passerby noticed a parachute last Wednesday and searchers on Frida...

Give Feedback