Hostage scare near Paris


French police on Monday were hunting armed robbers who escaped after holding up a store in a shopping mall near Paris, prompting special forces to intervene and seal off the area.

The three men — one of whom was thought to be an employee of the shop — burst into the Primark store in Villeneuve-la-Garenne early on Monda, said a police source who wished to remain anonymous.

An employee first alerted her boyfriend to the hold-up at around 7:00am (0500 GMT) when she sent him a text message saying they had been taken hostage by two armed men, another source said.

The area around the Qwartz mall was shut down, all traffic stopped and other stores in the vicinity closed up as special forces rushed to the scene.

The mall was promptly evacuated but according to police, 18 employees had remained inside. They “were evacuated around 10:30am, one of them was unwell but no one was injured,” police said.