A hostage situation erupted in Paris yesterday after a man who claimed to be armed with a handgun and explosives seized two people, including a pregnant woman, who were then doused in petrol.
The man seized two hostage in Rue des Petites Ecuries, with armed police and firefighters racing to the scene. A third person escaped capture and suffered minor injuries as he fought with the hostage-taker.
After a stand-off lasting several hours, the hostage taker was arrested and hostages released.
Sources at the scene said the hostages had been doused in petrol during the horrific incident.
The man, described by authorities as "unstable", claimed to have been in possession of a gun and explosives. "His demands were really vague and incoherent," said an interior ministry official. "The negotiator had difficulty understanding."
"The individual has been arrested and the hostages are out of danger," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Twitter.
One hostage was reported as being "seriously injured" after he was hit with a wrench, the hostage-taker earlier told police. It is uncertain whether this actually happend.
A security source at the scene said the man wanted to speak to the Iranian embassy and French government, the Express reported.
Streets in the area were sealed off by police cordons. Police said the incident was not believed to be terror-related.