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Police arrest suspect after hostage drama at French bank

A man claiming to be a member of al-Qaida is holding several people hostage in a bank in Toulouse, France. Msnbc.com's Dara Brown reports.

Updated at 11:06 ET: TOULOUSE, France -- Armed police have captured alive a man who took four hostages in a bank in the southwestern French city of Toulouse on Wednesday, officials said. 

His captives, who included the bank's manager, were released after an ordeal lasting several hours, police said.

The man, who had claimed to be a member of al-Qaida, attacked the CIC branch at about 10:30 a.m. local time (4:30 a.m. ET) and fired a shot after an attempted armed robbery apparently went wrong, police said.


He was lightly injured during his arrest, which came at around 4:00 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. ET) and followed a series of gunshots that were heard at the scene.

Unidentified authorities told the Associated Press the gunman had psychiatric problems in the past and claimed he was acting for religious reasons. 

In March, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah - an al-Qaida-inspired gunman - shot dead three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in the same city.

Earlier, French television news channel BFM said the hostage-taker had demanded the presence of RAID, the national elite police unit that had to take down Merah in a shootout at his apartment.

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Bruno Martin / AP

Elite police officers from the GIPN brigade arrive at a bank in Toulouse, France, where a man took hostages and fired a shot.

Officials at the French Interior Ministry and CIC bank declined to comment. 

Reuters and NBC News contributed to this report.

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