In this UGC image made from a mobile phone, police in riot gear surrounded the entrance of a building in central Paris where a man is believed to be holding two people hostage, in Paris, Tuesday June 12, 2018. There was no indication of a terrorist motive, a police official said Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Paris hostages freed, suspect arrested after 4 hours

June 12, 2018 - 3:13 pm

PARIS (AP) — A four-hour hostage standoff in central Paris ended with police moving in, arresting the suspect and freeing those held, France's interior minister announced late Tuesday.

"All the hostages are safe and sound," Gerard Collomb said in a brief statement. At least two people had been held.

The identity of the male suspect — who reportedly asked to speak to the Iranian ambassador during negotiations — was not immediately known, and details of the final moments and the arrest remained unclear.

There was no indication of an extremist motive, police said.

Dozens of police in riot gear, firefighters and rescue workers evacuated and blocked off the Rue des Petites Ecuries as negotiations took place. The hostages were held in a ground-floor office in a crowded neighborhood.

There were at least three hostages at first, but one was reportedly freed shortly after the drama began at about 4 p.m., police union official Yves Lefebvre said.

The freed hostage was reportedly doused with gasoline and hit in the face as he was freed, according to Lefebvre. The information could not be officially confirmed.

The male suspect reportedly asked to speak with the ambassador of Iran, Lefebvre said. BFM-TV said he asked to speak with a variety of people, suggesting his motives may have been unclear even to himself.

The hostage-taker also claimed he had an accomplice outside the building with a bomb, according to Lefebvre. Police swept vehicles in the area with a device but found nothing, he said.

Officials at police headquarters never confirmed whether the person holding the hostages was armed or described the nature of his demands.

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