18 hostages being held by armed men in store near Paris now rescued by police

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French special forces have evacuated 18 shop workers who were reportedly held hostage in a Primark discount store in a Paris suburb. Three gunmen with sawn-off shotguns who held up the workers in an alleged attempt to rob are now on the run.

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Initially, there were reports of 10 people being held hostage but the Independent later confirmed the figure as 18.

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“Around 6:30 am (0430 GMT), two or three armed criminals went into the Primark store for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery,” a police source said of the incident at Villeneuve-la-Garenne.

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An employee had first alerted her boyfriend of the hold-up at around 7 am through a text message, another police official said.

Police have stopped all traffic in the vicinity of the area around the Qwartz mall where the discount store is located. All other surrounding shops have also been closed.

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