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Toulouse hostage taker 'not linked to al-Qaeda'

French prosecutors have dismissed any al-Qaeda connections to the gunman who took four people hostage in a bank in Toulouse today.

Prosecutor Michael Valet said the suspect, who claimed he was acting for religious reasons, had confused religious views:

We are dealing with someone who is suffering from a significant psychological disorder and that his actions are linked to that disorder.

We have an end that is as favourable as we could hope for, the four hostages were freed safe and sound, the hostage-taker is wounded, hospitalised in a Toulouse hospital at the moment.

His condition is not critical.

French police detain Toulouse hostage taker

French police have arrested a man who took hostages in a bank in the southwestern French city of Toulouse, two police sources said.

The man, who had claimed to be a member of al Qaeda, was arrested after police launched an assault in which he was injured.

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Two hostages released by man 'known to police for petty offences'

Police block the street at the scene where a man claiming to be a member of al Qaeda took four hostages in a bank in Toulouse. Credit: Reuters

The man, known to police for a record of petty offences and psychological problems, has released two female hostages after receiving food and water this afternoon, police sources told Reuters.

"The man has made clear that he is not acting for money, but for religious reasons. He want us to make that message clear," Prosecutor Michel Valet told reporters.

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Sources: Shot fired in French hostage situation

A man claiming to be an al-Qaeda militant, who has taken hostages in a French bank, has fired a shot and could be holding up to four people, according to sources.

In March, an al-Qaeda-inspired gunman shot dead three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in Toulouse. The man was later shot dead by police after a standoff at his home in the city.

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