Paris police call off raid after hostage-taking in church turns out to be ‘false alarm’
When contacted by RT, the Paris Police Prefecture said that the emergency situation arose as the result of a “hoax call” to a local police station.
Photographs indicating a heavy police presence, including a helicopter hovering overhead, began to circulate on social media at around 4:00pm local time on Saturday.
Paris 1er - Fin de l'intervention des forces de l'ordre - Levée de doute effectuée, aucun danger à signaler— Préfecture de police (@prefpolice) September 17, 2016
Rumors quickly emerged of a hostage situation inside a small church, which was highlighted by an alert in a government terrorist warning app. Eyewitnesses claimed that a police raid was commencing, with some reporting sounds of gunfire.
But just minutes after authorities warned people to stay away from the district, there was a new alert indicating that there had been no danger.
Similar false alarm incidents have become a weekly feature of Parisian life, following a string of devastating Islamist attacks throughout France in the past two years.
Intervention policière en cours, au niveau de Étienne Marcel. Pas plus d'infos pour le moment ... pic.twitter.com/rZZIybrlhy— Johnny Gislard (@JohnGsld) September 17, 2016
In July, two Islamic State-inspired French citizens took hostage an 86-year-old Catholic priest in a suburb of Rouen, before slitting his throat.
🔴 Périmètre entièrement bouclée dans le quartier Étienne Marcel à Paris, il y aurait une attaque dans une Église. pic.twitter.com/8hpWCjdYbr— Salem (@Ibn_Sayyid) September 17, 2016
This was about 25 mins ago when they were first clearing the area around Etienne Marcel and St. Denis. pic.twitter.com/3Ph4P5SYGh— Portia Crowe (@PortiaCrowe) September 17, 2016