• Le Havre: A gunman takes hostages on a bench in France

French police arrested a man Thursday who had taken several hostages hours before at a branch of the Bred-Banque Populaire bank in downtown La Havre, the port city of which former French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe is mayor.

"The hostages have been released safe and sound," French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Twitter , thanking RAID agents, the elite unit of the French national police, and the rest of law enforcement "for their cold-blooded and professional. "

The city's mayor, Édouard Philippe, joined Darmanin's thanks for the work done by the police. "Very proud and grateful," wrote the former prime minister.

The hostage-taking lasted six hours. The man, whose identity has not been released, entered the branch around five in the afternoon (local time). At those times there were seven people inside.

One man managed to escape and throughout the afternoon-night all the people who had been held against their will inside the bank were gradually released. Finally, the police arrested the person responsible for taking the hostages.

The kidnapper, 32, has criminal records and suffers from psychiatric problems, according to the French media. According to the RTL television network , he reportedly demanded "the release of Palestinian children unjustly imprisoned in Israel." This information has not yet been officially confirmed.

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