- 6 updates
Armed police have surrounded a French shopping centre as part of a major operation to hunt down three gunmen who stormed a Primark store in the early hours of the morning.
Three men, armed with shotguns, broke into the shop in the Qwartz centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne at around 6.30am.
Eighteen shop workers were initially taken hostage in what is thought to be a botched attempt at an armed robbery, but they were freed within four hours by French special forces.
Le Parisien reported that the men were seen on CCTV entering the building, but were not seen leaving it, leading authorities to believe the trio may still be inside.
A major search is underway to hunt down three armed men who tried to rob a Primark store near Paris in the early hours of the morning.
Eighteen workers at the store in the Qwartz centre, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, were held hostage for around four hours before French special forces managed to evacuate them.
The trio - one of which is believed to have been an employee himself - stormed into the shop at 6.30am, armed with a shotgun.
A police spokesman confirmed none of the hostages had suffered any injuries, and said officers were now combing the local area to try to track the men down.
One of the Primark workers held hostage by three armed raiders near Paris managed to raise the alarm by secretly texting a friend.
A police source told Le Parisien that the employee had managed to sneak a text warning their friend that they were being held by armed men at around 7am.
One of the men - who broke into the store at around 6.30am wielding a shotgun - was recognised as an employee of the store, it has been reported.
All 18 workers taken hostage by the gunmen have now been evacuated by French special forces.
One of three gunmen who stormed a branch of Primark near Paris was recognised as an employee of the store, local media have claimed.
Le Parisien cited sources which suggested the raid - a suspected armed robbery gone wrong - was an inside job.
According to one worker at the centre, whose job was to restock the vending machines, he was faced with "panic" when he arrived at the Qwartz shopping centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne this morning.
People were fleeing through the rear exit and shouting: "They are armed, we need to get out", the paper added.
French special forces have evacuated 18 people from a shopping centre near Paris after three gunmen stormed a Primark store, in what is believed to have been an attempted armed robbery.
It is believed the group were the employees originally trapped inside by the raiders.
One of them had fallen, but otherwise nobody was injured, police said.
Gunmen have stormed a store a near Paris with 10 people still inside, according to local media reports.
Three armed raiders reportedly targeted the Primark store in the Qwartz shopping centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the Hauts-de-Seine region, at around 6.30am.
Police say they believe it was an attempted armed robbery.
Officers said 10 members of staff were unaccounted for.
Le Figaro quotes a police source as saying that it is not believed to be a terrorist act at this stage.