Hostage taker who demanded ‘freedom for Palestinians’ surrenders to police in France’s Le Havre

The 34-year-old armed assailant who kidnapped six people inside a La Havre bank in France’s Normandy and demanded freedom for Palestinians has surrendered to police and is now in custody after an hours-long standoff with police.

The as-yet unidentified man held six people at gunpoint in the bank on Thursday evening and demanded that “unjustly imprisoned Palestinian children” in Israel be released, and that free passage be granted to Palestinians under 40 into the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

According to police, the man had a history of psychological issues. RTL news also reported he has a criminal record, which includes kidnapping.

After special RAID police cordoned off the area, the captor threatened to “blow everything up,” but ultimately no one was injured and hostages were slowly released, one by one, until the man was left with only one captive inside the bank before he was put in custody and the situation was defused.

Though his psychological issues and run-ins with police were confirmed by officials, it is not immediately clear if the still-unidentified captor belongs to any larger organizations or if he was actually armed with anything more than a handgun.

Édouard Philippe, the current mayor of La Havre and former French prime minister, tweeted his thanks to police officers following the end of the standoff.

“Congratulations and thanks to the state services, the national police and the RAID police officers who, once again, have done a remarkable job in the service of our fellow citizens,” he tweeted.

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