Paris school hostage siege ends

Camera footage captures the moment the suspected gunman is detained by police

A man apparently brandishing a fake gun has freed the final hostage he had been holding at a French school outside Paris and has himself been captured.

The last hostage was a parent who had come to drop off a child at the school in Vitry-sur-Seine, which is being used as a leisure centre during the holidays, police said.

Earlier, the man released a group of children he had been holding.

Many French schools run summer activities during the holidays.

Officers of the elite police Raid unit attended the scene.

"The Raid succeeded in freeing the hostage during negotiations," a police source said. The man was captured unharmed.

The man was using an imitation automatic weapon that could only fire gas cartridges, judicial sources said.

'Desire to die'

The Charles Perrault pre-school is in the centre of the town, itself some 7.5 km (5 miles) from the centre of Paris.

Police were called at about 07:00 (05:00 GMT) to the school, where five to 10 children and three parents were at the time, French radio reported.

The children were quickly released.

The hostage-taker was said to be in his 30s and unknown to the police.

He may have been wearing a binman's green boiler suit when he entered the school, police sources told French radio.

A judicial source said the man had "made incoherent statements and expressed a desire to die", during negotiations, adding that the hostage taker had "at no point been threatening" with the parent held captive, the AFP news agency reports.

Last month, a 26-year-old man with a record of psychological problems was shot and arrested by elite police in Toulouse after taking several hostages and claiming to be a member of al-Qaeda.

Toulouse is also where another al-Qaeda-inspired gunman, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, was shot dead by police after killing three soldiers, three Jewish children at a school and a rabbi.

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