An armed man who took six people hostage in a bank in Le Havre, northern France, surrendered to police on Thursday after releasing his captives, a Reuters witness and police union official said. A bomb squad rushed to the BRED bank in Boulevard de Strasbourge after the man allegedly told officers there were explosives in a bag.
Two police union sources said the gunman was believed to have Islamist ties. One union source said the hostage-taker was known to law enforcement authorities and was on a security service watch list.
We know that he has been radicalised and suffers a serious psychiatric illness,” Yves Lefebvre, head of the SGP Unite police union told Reuters.
A highly-placed police source said the man holding the hostages had made statements in support of the Palestinian cause.
The man emerged slowly from the building wearing a balaclava and with his hands turned palms-up, before officers with their weapons raised moved in and handcuffed him. What appeared to be a green-coloured flag was draped around his shoulders as he left the building.