x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Gunman opens fire in French newspaper office

Manhunt underway after gunman opens fire in Paris-based newspaper lobby, gravely wounding a photographer's assistant before fleeing.

PARIS // A gunman opened fire in the lobby of a French newspaper office in Paris, gravely wounding a photographer’s assistant before fleeing. Soon afterward, shots were fired at the headquarters of a major French bank just west of Paris, and a gunman took a man hostage briefly nearby.

The Paris police headquarters said that it is not clear whether the three incidents are linked, but that authorities are increasing security in all three places as well as media offices around Paris. A helicopter is flying over the neighbourhood that includes the French president’s office and the Champs-Elysees avenue.

The daily newspaper Liberation said the 27-year-old photographer was in serious condition. Fabrice Rousselot, editor of Liberation, said witnesses reported the gunman said nothing during the brief time he was in the lobby on Monday morning.

The government positioned police at all major media organisations in Paris, according to Interior Minister Manuel Valls. BFM-TV said authorities were comparing Monday’s surveillance footage with video taken Friday, when an armed man fired a weapon and threatened journalists in the news network’s lobby before fleeing.

Valls declined to draw a link between the two incidents, but promised an exhaustive investigation.

Yoann Maras of the police union Alliance said the gunman fired a pump-action rifle and wounded the victim in the chest and arm.

Soon after the shooting at Liberation, three shots were fired in front of the headquarters of bank Societe Generale in the Paris suburb of La Defense, according to Paris police. Societe Generale said in a statement that a lone gunman opened fire in front of the building, and no one was hurt.

And very soon after that, a man called police to say he had been taken hostage by a gunman in the town of Puteaux, next door to La Defense. Police said the gunman forced his hostage to drive to the Champs-Elysees, a leafy and busy shopping thoroughfare, then let the hostage go.

Police are searching the neighbourhood for the perpetrator or perpetrators, the Paris police headquarters said.

Associated Press