Sun, 20 Sep 2020

French bank siege over, hostages released

RFI
07 Aug 2020, 18:06 GMT+10

A gunman with psychiatric problems took six people hostage at a bank in Le Havre, northern France, before giving himself up to the police. No one was injured in the incident. While the gunman's motives remain unclear, police sources say he just 'wanted to be talked about'.

According to official sources, one hostage escaped and the gunman released the five others before handing himself over to the police.

The hostages were all employees of the bank.

"The hostages have been freed, safe and sound," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, hours after an elite RAID police unit captured the gunman.

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanain congratulates 'all actors' of the incident.

No shots were fired and no-one was mistreated, according to police sources.

'He just wanted to be talked about'

Motives unclear

The man, aged 34, had entered the premises at 4:45 pm with a handgun

According to Reuters, he claimed the Palestinian cause for his actions, but his motives remain unclear.

"We will see what his real intent and motivations were. At the moment, I'm unable to provide circumstantial elements", Le Havre's public prosecutor said immediately after the man's arrest.

Psychiatric problems, previous incidents with firearms

The gunman had a history of psychiatric problems and had been previously involved in kidnapping and firearms offences.

In 2013, armed with a handgun and a teargas bomb, he took four people hostage in a CIC bank branch.

At the time, he demanded council housing for his son and himself, before surrendering to the police.

(With AFP, BFM TV and Ouest France)

Orginally published on RFI

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