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Gunman who held 6 hostages at bank in Le Havre in northern France surrenders to police

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Le Havre is a major port city in northern France.
Le Havre is a major port city in northern France.   -   Copyright  SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP or licensors
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An armed man who held six people hostage at a bank in the French city of Le Havre has surrendered to police on Thursday, according to officials.

No weapons were used in the arrest of the 34-year-old hostage-taker, who had freed captives uninjured over the course of the evening.

France's special intervention unit, RAID had been negotiating with the man from around 7 pm. Officers are trained to try to defuse tense situations, and move in if that fails. No shots were fired at the suspect and all hostages, who according to the French interiour minister Gérald Darmanin were all bank employees, were released unharmed.

An official in France’s national police said the hostage-taker was known to have problems with his mental health and a criminal record.

The official did not confirm French media reports that he had put forth confusing demands. The official could not be identified by name, in keeping with French custom.

The man, who was charged with kidnapping, bearing a firearm and sequestration of assets, is believed to have been involved in a similar situation in 2013 when he took four people hostage with a handgun and teargas grenade at a branch of the CIC bank in Paris.

In a post on Twitter, new French prime minister Jean Castex tweeted: "Through their composure, their courage and their professionalism, our police have once more brough honour to their uniform this evening in Le Havre.

"I salute the commitment of RAID and the whole of our security and emergency services. We are, quite simply, proud of you."

The hostage-taking began shortly before 5 pm on Thursday evening. Police quickly blocked off the area.