Armed men have taken hostages after gun shots were fired in the northern French town of Roubaix, a police source said on Tuesday, but there was no immediate indication of a link to the November 13 Paris attacks.
“An operation is underway after hostages were taken. Gunshots were fired and the neighbourhood has been cordoned off,” the source told Reuters. “A bank director and his family may have been taken as hostages.”
A police source said the suspect or suspects were holed up in the home of a couple they had been preparing to burgle and had exchanged gunfire with police.
Medical and fire services confirmed that an operation was underway in Roubaix, which is near the border with Belgium, without giving further details.
The Roubaix mayor’s office said hostages had been taken after a “robbery”.
A special police unit has been dispatched and a security cordon set up around the scene, the mayor’s office and police source said.
“This is apparently not a terrorist attack, it’s apparently a robbery,” one police source said. France remains on high alert after the November 13 attacks in and around Paris in which 130 people were killed.