The hostage situation in the Roubaix, a town located in northern France and also close to Belgium, has ended and the hostages are safe, according to authorities.
The incident is not connected to the Paris attacks that killed at least 130 people. A police source told Reuters, “This is apparently not a terrorist attack, it’s apparently a robbery.”
One of the hostage takers was killed and one had been arrested. Some of the armed men involved in the hostage situation are on the run and police officers are searching for them, according to Frederic Fevre, the prosecutor for the city of Lille in northern France.
The police cordoned the neighborhood where the hostage situation happened. Earlier reports indicated that the gunmen took a bank director and his family as hostages.
France remain on high alert
France is still on a high alert since the government declared a state of emergency immediately following the terrorists attacks in France.
The French security forces conducted more than 1,000 raids and searches I Paris and across the country. They are aggressively questioning residents and bringing suspects in the police stations for interrogations while others were put under house arrest.
Yesterday, France’s Minister of Interior said 117 people were arrested during the raids. Additionally, the French Police found a suicide belt in a garbage bin in Montrougue, a suburb in the southern part of Paris.
The police assumed that the suicide belt belonged to Salah Abdeslam, the fugitive suspected to one of the terrorists who carried out the Paris attacks. Abdeslam’s cellphone matched to the location where the suicide belt was found. ISIS claimed that one of the targets was the 18th Arrondissement in northern France, but the attack did not happen.
Abdeslam’s family wanted him to surrender and answer their questions and the families of the victims. His brother Mohamed said, “We would rather see Salah in prison than in the cemetery.”
It had been reported that Abdeslam was hiding in Belgium. A police source recently suggested that Abdeslam is probably feeling “trapped and desperate” in Brussels, which is also on a maximum alert.
The Belgian and French police intensified their manhunt for Abdeslam.
Belgium faces threats of Paris-style attacks
Belgium’s Price Minister Charles Michel said Brussels remained in a maximum alert due to threats of possible Paris-style attacks. He said they are afraid Brussels could experience attacks similar to what happened in Paris. According to him some people could launch attacks at the same time in multiple locations in the capital city.
Prime Minister Michel previously stated, “There is a sustained, serious, and imminent threat against the capital.” Belgium already arrested 21 suspects during a series of anti-terror raids.