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Man takes several hostages at French bank

A man has taken four hostages in a bank in the southwestern French city of Toulouse, including the bank manager, police officials have said.

The man took the hostages at a branch of French bank CIC and fired a shot after an attempted armed robbery apparently went wrong, UNSA police union official Cedric Delage told the Reuters news agency.

France’s BFM television reported that the man claimed allegiance to the al-Qaeda network, but officials could not confirm this.

Police said no injuries were reported. No demands have yet been made and police are on the scene.

An anti-terrorist unit was on its way and the area was sealed off, Delage said.

Tensions have been higher than usual in Toulouse since March, when a gunman whom police said claimed links to al-Qaeda reportedly killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers in the area. 

The man, 23-year-old Mohammed Merah, was later shot dead by police after a standoff at his home in the city, in the same area as the CIC bank that was under siege on Wednesday.

The Interior Ministry was not immediately available to comment.


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