UPDATE Toulouse police have captured the man holding hostages in the CIC bank. He is reportedly injured. A second gunshot was reportedly heard from inside the bank, however the French Interior Ministry have denied this. French police have reported that a second hostage has been released. The sister of the gunman told AFP that he is 26 years old, and was in social care as a child. She also said that he is scared of the outside world, and suffers from anger issues, which has prompted reports that he may be schizophrenic and has not been taking his prescribed medication.
A man has reportedly taken several people hostage in a bank in Toulouse, southern France. Police have said that four people are currently inside the building. One hostage has been released, according to police, reported by France 24. Initial reports suggest the man claims he is affiliated with Al Qaeda, and is armed. Gun fire was reportedly heard according to French news service i-Télé. The BBC have reported that the man fired a shot and demanded to speak to the elite police unit which shot Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah. The bank is a few hundred metres from where Merah lived. The unit responsible for the raid, siege and shooting of Merah have reportedly arrived at the scene. It is thought that the bank director and members of staff are among those held, after what is alleged to be an armed robbery attempt. Buses have been diverted, a local primary school, and high school are reportedly on lock-down. AFP have reported police sources saying "Most likely hypothesis is #Toulouse gunman is mad, which doesn't make him less dangerous." Mohammed Merah, who also claimed to have links to Al Qaeda, including training, killed seven people in three separate attacks in March. He was shot dead by police after a seize lasting more than 30 hours. A girl who appears to be a student at the evacuated high school has raised concerns about Baccalauréat (A levels) exams due to be taken this afternoon: More to follow. [Images via @hugoclement, @RakiaMejidBlanc, and Google street view]