A HOSTAGE situation is unfolding in the northern French town of Roubaix, near the Belgium border.
The French news outlet iTele said that men had fired shots at police after an attempted robbery went wrong, and that were holding a family hostage.
The mayor of Roubaix told French media BFM a number of armed men have taken some people hostage.
Breaking3zero tweeted "Reuters has confirmed the taking of hostages. There are some injured and some children among the hostages."
According to Agence France-Presse the mayor's office said the hostage situation was related to a robbery and not terrorism.
"They engaged in a robbery after which they took hostages."
A source told Reuters: "An operation is underway after hostages were taken. Gunshots were fired and the neighbourgood has been cordoned off."
"A bank director and his family may have been taken hostage."
According to one of the town's local papers gunshots were heard as hostages, including children, were taken in a family residence.
Le Norde Éclair said a police operation has unfolded on the corner of Gustave Delory Avenue and Vaillant Road, where it's believed a family has been taken hostage inside a house.
It reported numerous witnesses heard gun shots around 7pm in France local time.
Police, including officers from France's primary national counter-terrorism unit, arrived quickly at the scene and the quarter was shut-down.
Le Norde Éclair reported it's likely the situation is a result of an attack on the home that may not be linked to terrorism.
There are conflicting reports, with numerous media reporting there have been some injured, however Le Norde Éclair reported the information they had indicated there were no injuries.
- NZ Herald