Man arrested after hostage incident in Paris: Minister

French police and special police forces (BRI) secure the street as a man has taken people hostage at a business in Paris, France, on June 12, 2018.
French police and special police forces (BRI) secure the street as a man has taken people hostage at a business in Paris, France, on June 12, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - Police rescued two hostages and arrested a man at a small business in central Paris on Tuesday (June 12) after he demanded to be put in touch with the Iranian Embassy to deliver a message to the French government, authorities said. 

“The individual has been arrested and the hostages are out of danger,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Twitter. 

There were no immediate details on the age, appearance or nationality of the hostage taker.

“His demands were really vague and incoherent,” said an interior ministry official. “The negotiator had difficulty understanding.”

"Officials will be trying to start a negotiation with the man," police union official Yves Lefebvre told BFM TV, which reported that the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related.

A police source said the hostage-taker initially hit one person who was able to escape. The attacker, who appeared to be brandishing a fake weapon, had doused his remaining two hostages in petrol, the source said.

France has been on high alert after a series of extremist attacks in the past three years, most recently a Saturday night knife attack by a man in Paris last month in which one person was killed.