Hostages taken in Toulouse bank siege
An armed man took four people hostage in a bank in the southern French city of Toulouse on Wednesday.
The gunman, who authorities believe has had psychiatric problems in the past, claimed he was acting for religious reasons.
He entered a CIC bank branch in central Toulouse at about 11am and took the bank director and three other people hostage, police said.
He released one hostage mid-afternoon, a woman in her late 20s.
“The hostage-taker ... wants us to make it known that he is acting not for money, and that his motivations come from his religious conviction,” French Prosecutor Michel Valet told reporters at the scene. He did not say what faith the gunman adheres to.
French media reports say the gunman is claiming allegiance to Al Qaeda. Police could not confirm this claim.
A gunshot was fired early in the hostage-taking incident.
Residents and police heard another shot fired mid-afternoon but the source of the shot was unclear. The neighbourhood around the bank was cordoned off and buildings were evacuated.