Paris mall siege: Gunmen still at large after store robbery

2015-07-13 13:07
French police officer stand outside the Qwartz mall in Villeneuve-La-Garenne after a robbery attempt. (Thomas Samson, AFP)

French police officer stand outside the Qwartz mall in Villeneuve-La-Garenne after a robbery attempt. (Thomas Samson, AFP)

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Villeneuve-La-Garenne - A group of gunmen broke into a discount clothing store near Paris on Monday, trapping 18 people inside for hours before fleeing and prompting a manhunt throughout the area, police said.

All 18 people were safely evacuated from the Primark store in a shopping centre in the town of Villeneuve-la-Garenne, according to a regional police official. She said police are now pursuing the assailants.

Police surrounded the sprawling shopping centre and cordoned off the neighbourhood, adjacent to the Seine River about 10km north of central Paris.

The assailants entered the store around 06:30 on Monday in what police believe was an attempted robbery, another police official said. Several people were already inside, primarily employees.

The officials weren't authorised to be publicly named.

Officers from a special police unit entered the store, and a few officers emerged later accompanying women reported to be store employees, according to images broadcast on BFM television.

There was no immediate sign of a political or other motive for the robbery.

The Paris region remains on high alert after Islamic extremists attacked a kosher supermarket and satirical newspaper offices in January, leaving 20 people dead including the attackers.

Read more on:    france  |  security

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