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Armed man holds hostages in central Paris

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Dozens of police officers converged on a street in central Paris on Tuesday after an armed man took hostages, police sources said.

The man was "armed and holding at least two people," a source told AFP, adding that "the situation is quite confused", but did not appear to be terrorism-related.

"Based on our initial investigations it could be a mentally unstable person whose motivations are still unclear," another source said.

A spokesman for France's BRI intervention brigade said negotiations with the man were underway.

The standoff began around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT), with BFM television reporting that the man had entered the offices of a start-up company on the Rue des Petites Ecuries, a gritty area of the bustling 10th arrondissement.

At least one man was lightly injured while fighting with the hostage-taker and escaping before the BRI officers arrived on the scene, a police source said.

Crowds of bystanders were held back by a security perimeter at the site, where police and rescue workers were massed, deploying at least one remote-controlled robot on tracks toward the building where the armed man had barricaded himself.

France has been on high alert after a series of jihadist attacks in the past three years, most recently a Saturday night knife attack in Paris last month in which one person was killed.

AFP

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