Eighteen hostages held hostage in Paris early Monday for nearly five hours have been freed, according to Infos140. The armed men who took them captive have — for the moment — disappeared, the news service reported.
The employees were held hostage by two or three gunmen inside a store at the Primark mall in Villeneuve-la-Garenne in northern Paris.
“Around 6:30 am two or three armed criminals went into the Primark mall for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery,” a police source told the Australian Herald Sun.
A store employee sent a text to her boyfriend at around 7 am, telling him she and others were taken hostage by two armed men, according to Le Figaro, a French newspaper. All of the hostages were store employees, according to the AFP news agency.
Police blocked off access to the area and an elite special forces unit was deployed to the scene. The gunmen made no demands and no injuries were reported.
Numerous members on the Twitter social media site posted a flurry of scornful tweets, as one pointed out: “People still talking about robbery in #paris #primark in the morning?!! what the heck?!! something to hide?”
The motivation behind the entire incident is still not clear. Police are searching for the gunmen and an investigation has been launched.