Hostage Describes Islamist Elements of Armed Bank Robbery

Armed gendarmes stand guard in a street in Marseillan, about 40 kilometres southwest from Montpellier, southern France, on February 10, 2017, where suspects believed to be involved in plotting an attack were arrested by French anti-terrorist police (RAID). Four people including a 16-year-old girl were arrested on February 10 by …

A bank employee who was taken hostage along with five others has revealed that the man who took them prisoner showed signs of Islamic radicalism, preaching and reciting Qur’an verses.

The hostage-taking incident took place earlier this month on the 6th of August in the French city of Le Havre when a 34-year-old man with a firearm entered a bank and took the six employees working hostage.

One of the hostages spoke to broadcaster RTL and explained what happened during the ordeal before the hostages were eventually released unharmed.

“The hostage-taker tells us that we have to sit down and quickly he tells us that if there is one who plays the hero, he’ll kill him,” the witness said, adding: “Then he takes out his knives, his handcraft explosives, the prayer mat and he starts preaching and giving us some Quranic verses.”

“At that moment I told myself that if a hostage-taking that starts like this, it doesn’t smell good. He tells us about his demands and tells us that all this will end at four o’clock in the morning, after the last prayer,” the witness said.

According to the bank employee, the radical Muslim told him that he would “finish in style” when killing the final hostage and that hostage would be him.

It was later revealed after the hostage-taker was taken into custody by police, that his gun was actually a starter pistol and the bombs he had threatened the employees with were firecrackers and bottles containing alcohol.

The man is also well-known to police and has been convicted of four crimes in the last ten years, and has also previously taken people hostage at a bank in Paris in 2013. In his previous hostage-taking, the man was armed with a real pistol and a tear gas canister.

Other hostage-taking situations, such as the Hyper Cacher attack in 2015, did not without bloodshed, as this one ultimately did.

The Hyper Cacher attack saw radical Muslim Amedy Coulibaly kill three of the hostages he took at the kosher market. Another hostage and Coulibaly himself had died by the end of the siege.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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