Armed man takes hostages at store in France

Armed man takes hostages at store in France

An armed man has taken four hostages in a store on the outskirts of the southern city of Toulouse in France.

A police spokeswoman said the man seized the hostages at a convenience store in the town of Blagnac, near Toulouse airport.

Officials said it is too early to rule out terrorism without knowing the hostage-taker's demands.

Police surrounded the store and evacuated the area.

Local state television France 3 reported that the hostage-taker fired three shots in the air and was wearing a helmet fitted with a camera and demanded to speak with a negotiator.

Police locked down the neighbourhood, evacuated some buildings and ordered other residents to stay inside, according to neighbour Robert Texier.

A police helicopter circled overhead.

The national terrorism prosecutor's office said it was following the situation.

"It's worrying. It all happened so quickly," said Mr Texier, who expressed surprise at the incident in what he described as a quiet neighbourhood on the banks of the Garonne River.

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

PA

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