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Hostage-taking in Le Havre: the story of six long hours of terror


A 34-year-old man armed with a pistol stormed a bank in downtown Le Havre on Thursday evening. At around 10:45 p.m., the suspect,

“I was at home and some friends called me to tell me that something was going on in the street of my restaurant. "Aydin, manager of the Pasha kebab restaurant in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), discovered with the heavy police force deployed on Boulevard de Strasbourg the attack that was taking place in the bank located at number 122." The police did not want anything tell us, so as not to panic, I think. The whole street is cordoned off, so customers were taken out on the back street. "

Thursday, a 34-year-old man stormed a Bred bank branch in downtown Le Havre (Seine-Maritime) armed with a revolver. After six hours of hostage-taking, the suspect surrendered around 10:45 p.m. He was arrested and taken into police custody. Investigators will try to unravel the claims and motivations of this thirty-something, identified as Medhi D. A suspect with a heavy profile since he is both known to the courts for similar facts, for a psychiatric history and for suspicions of radicalization Islamist. All six hostages, released over the course of the evening, are safe and sound.

The police were only able to enter the agency after the hostage taker surrendered. / AFP  

The hostage-taking began shortly after 4:45 p.m. Medhi D. bursts into the Bred-Banque Populaire branch on foot, located about a hundred meters from the Town Hall. It is still open at this hour, but there are hardly any people. The man ordered the six people present not to make a gesture. Then he closed the agency. No shots are fired and no employee or customer is physically abused. Very quickly, the elite police officers of the National Raid made the journey from their headquarters in Bièvres (Essonne) to the bank. Even before their arrival, a first hostage - a man - manages to escape. A telephone link is set up between the madman and the Raid negotiator.

The suspect ends up first releasing two women at 5.30 p.m. and 6:50 p.m., described as "very shocked". Then only employees remain. On the phone, Medhi D.'s motivations are very confused. It would not be, it seems, a robbery since it is not asking for money. And bank branches no longer have much cash today ... According to our information, the hostage taker brings up several subjects in a disjointed fashion: the release of Palestinian children, 24-hour news channels and social networks who will film and relay his action, a prospect that pleases him ... He also claims a TMax scooter in order, according to him, to tow a hostage in the back with handcuffs. “He looks like he's watched too many movies. His words are confused, ”then indicates a relative of the investigation.

A Hamas flag

The searches in the police files make it possible to discover that Medhi D. is registered with the processing of the criminal record (TAJ) for kidnapping, forcible confinement and carrying a weapon. Territorial intelligence had also started monitoring the individual for suspected radicalization. But this confused man has also been diagnosed with bipolar and is being followed by psychiatrists. One of his acquaintances describes him as a man "not a fighter but a great consumer of narcotics, living alternately with his mother or in squats, having spent time in a psychiatric hospital".

After asking for food, the maniac ends up releasing an employee at 8 p.m., then a second - a man in a gray suit - an hour later. "He seems determined but we do not know exactly what he wants", then slips a police source. Night invades the city center of Le Havre. The tension suddenly rises and the fifty or so onlookers hold their breath. The lights of the Raid sleuths light up. "The assault is imminent," whispered a policeman to his colleague. In the front row, Thierry and his young son: “Usually, I watch it on TV, I'm very fond of TV reports on police interventions,” he says. But this is the second time in six months that I see with my own eyes the men of the Raid in action. "

The police cordoned off the entire neighborhood, the Raid went there./AFP  

Shortly before 11:00 p.m., Medhi D. surrendered himself to the Raid police without injuring his last hostage or using his firearm. No detonation is heard. He is taken away draped in a green cloth which, according to a police source, is the Hamas flag. The deminers are dispatched to the agency to verify that he did not have explosives since he entered with a bag. The suspect's hearing must determine whether his motives were personal, religious or political.

Source: leparis

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