Although details are still sparse, Reuters is reporting that there's an unfolding hostage situation in the Northern French town of Roubaix.
According to the information we have now, there are several individuals with gunshot wounds. According to the daily La Voix du Nord newspaper the suspects are armed with Kalashnikovs. Witnesses say the incident occurred at around 7:00pm local time at a gas station.
Officials told Reuters that "an operation is underway after hostages were taken. Gunshots were fired and the neighborhood has been cordoned off. A bank director and his family may have been taken as hostages." Reports now indicate that the incident "is not terror related" as though there's nothing terrifying about being taken hostage by heavily armed gunmen with automatic weapons.
#BREAKING Armed men in hostage standoff in northern French town, local authorities say— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) November 24, 2015
BREAKING: Hostage situation reported in town of Roubaix near Belgium; children among hostages, injuries reported— i24news_EN (@i24news_EN) November 24, 2015
As you can see from the following map, Roubaix is very close to the border with Belgium which initially prompted specualtion that the standoff could be connected to the ongoing search for two unidentified terror suspects as well as the eighth Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam:
Images from the scene:
Belgium has been on heightened alert since Friday and Brussels has been a veritable warzone with police and military units patrolling the city and ransacking Molenbeek in a desperate attempt to head off what's been described as a "serious and imminent" terror threat.
Roubaix is a short drive from Brussels:
More as we get it.