Police are hunting a group of (Muslim?) gunmen who escaped and are believed to be on the run near Paris after they held a group of workers hostage during an incident this morning. After successfully rescuing 18 staff members who were trapped inside the building, police have turned their attention to tracking down the (Muslim?) attackers.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Brenda K) Officers at the scene said they were initially treating the incident as a ‘suspected armed robbery attempt’ but Islamic terrorism could not be ruled out.
The (Muslim?) gunmen – one of whom was thought to be a Primark employee – were still on the loose this afternoon. Although it was originally thought they were hidden inside the Qwartz mall in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, just north of Paris, it’s now believed they have escaped.
Police said earlier two or three (Muslim?) gunmen stormed the store soon after 6am as employees arrived for work in the Paris suburb just north of the city.
The area around the mall was shut down, all traffic stopped and other stores in the vicinity closed as special forces rushed to the scene. The mall was promptly evacuated but according to police, some 18 employees had remained inside, holed up in a canteen.
It is not yet clear whether they were taken there by the (Muslim?) gunmen or whether they escaped on their own and hid there. However, they ‘were evacuated around 10:30 am, one of them was unwell but no-one was injured,’ police said, adding security forces were still hunting for the (Muslim?) gunmen.
The armed (Muslim?) men were caught entering the mall on CCTV cameras but have not been filmed leaving the premises.
Meanwhile, it’s believed a staff member managed to raise the alarm by text messaging her boyfriend telling him she was being held hostage. A supply worker told Le Parisien he saw people fleeing the mall in a panic. He said: ‘Everyone was running and screaming “they are armed, they are armed, we must get out”.’
The Paris region remains on high alert for Islamic terrorist activity after Muslims attacked a kosher supermarket and satirical newspaper offices in January, leaving 20 people dead including the attackers.
The incident comes on the eve of the traditional Bastille Day military parade that takes place every year in Paris on July 14, France’s national day. (A date known for hundreds of annual car burnings in Paris by Muslim youths)