'Al-Qaeda militant' takes hostages at French bank
He isn't bound to be Al Qaeda, of course, he could just be a tuppeny ha'penny bank robber who botched the job. But that's no consolation for the hostages. From AFP
TOULOUSE, France — A self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda militant took hostages at a bank in French city Toulouse on Wednesday close to where "scooter shooter" Mohamed Merah lived and was shot dead by police in March.
The man fired a shot and took four people hostage, including the bank's manager, in the southern French city and wants to negotiate with the elite RAID police unit that shot dead Al-Qaeda-inspired killer Merah, police said.
"We're taking measures so we can start a dialogue" with the hostage taker, Toulouse prosecutor Michel Valet said at the scene where police have set up a 200-metre (yard) cordon around the bank.
Parents of pupils at a nearby school have been sent text message telling them to pick up their children, witnesses said, and rapid-intervention GIPN police units have been dispatched from southern cities Bordeaux and Marseille.
The RAID unit that shot dead Merah after he went on a killing spree is based in Paris, hundreds of kilometres to the north.
Update from the BBC - one hostage released.
Posted on 06/20/2012 7:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax