Armed man takes hostages in Paris

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An armed man has taken a number of people hostage, according to reports, including a pregnant woman. The hostages have now been freed and the suspect arrested, the French interior minister announced.

The standoff began around 4:00 pm, with BFM television reporting that the man had entered the offices of a start-up company on the Rue des Petites Ecuries, a gritty area of the bustling 10th arrondissement.

Streets in the area have been sealed off by police cordons.

The police said there was no indication that the incident was terrorism-related, but declined to elaborate on the hostage-taker's motive. The hostages were held in a ground-floor office in a crowded neighbourhood.

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The male suspect reportedly asked to speak with the ambassador of Iran, Lefebvre said.

The police said they could not confirm whether the man was armed.

The hostage-taker also claimed he had an accomplice outside the building with a bomb, according to Lefebvre. The attacker, who appeared to be brandishing a fake weapon, had doused his remaining two hostages in petrol, the source said.

Paris police have not revealed how many people were taken hostage.

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