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Toulouse Gunman Who Took Hostages at Bank Placed Under Arrest

louse Gunman Who Took Hostages at Bank Placed Under Arrest
French rapid-intervention GIPN police units leave the area after the police stormed a bank in Toulouse on June 20, 2012, arresting a gunman with psychiatric problems who claimed to be an Al-Qaeda militant and freeing his two hostages after a seven-hour siege. Photogrpher: Eric Cabanis/AFP/GettyImages

A gunman who took four people hostage at a bank in Toulouse in southwest France was arrested by the police. The hostages were released.

The gunman was injured in the effort to capture him and has been taken to a local hospital, said Etienne LaBrunie, an official at the Toulouse mayor’s office.

The man had taken hostages at a branch of Credit Industriel et Commercial, including its manager. Agence France-Presse said earlier that the gunman claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda, and was known to local police.

“It’s all over and it’s all fine,” said Bruno Brouchiquan, a Paris-based spokesman for the bank. The hostages, all employees at the bank, were freed and none was injured, he said.

Toulouse was the site of shootings at a Jewish school that left four people, including three children, dead in March. The killer, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, claimed ties to al-Qaeda. He was slain when police laid siege to his house.

The gunman today had appeared confused and asked for the French police’s RAID special intervention force as well as media coverage, LaBrunie said. Three shots were fired during the efforts to capture him.

The gunman, who hasn’t been named, spent time in a Toulouse hospital that specializes in mental-health problems, AFP reported.

The CIC branch is located in a commercial neighborhood not far from the center of the city and less than half a mile from the apartment where Merah was killed, according to Frederic Rossignol-Tamisier, a spokesman for the national judicial police in charge of the Toulouse region. The hostages were seized at 11:08 a.m. local time, he said.

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