Armed man 'with a bomb' holds three inside a shop

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"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.

"Two hostages. including one who had petrol poured on them", have been freed police said.

In response, anti-terrorist police have surrounded a Mixicom computer store in the city's 10th arrondissement, which is close to the Gare du Nord Eurostar hub.

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An area in Paris has been on lockdown after an armed man reportedly took several people, including a pregnant woman, hostage in one of the buildings, local media report. The information could not be officially confirmed.

Witnesses said the man claimed to be in possession of a gun and bomb. The police could not confirm to AP whether the hostage-taker is actually armed.

Police initially said the hostage scene was unfolding in an office in the building, but soon stopped communicating details to journalists. "His demands were really vague and incoherent", said an interior ministry official.

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