Armed police rushed to the scene of a suspected hostage situation taking place in France – but it later appeared to be a hoax.
The dramatic incident took place in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris, as elite police were deployed to the Silly-Gallieni district, Le Parisien reports.
Someone in the Nanterre's prosecutor's office said: "The raid was required for a hostage taking," without offering further details at present.
Reports suggested individual called the police indicating he is holding three hostages, but some news outlets in France were soon reporting that the telephone call to the authorities was a hoax and armed police were gradually leaving the area.
French journalist Jean Marc Morandini tweeted: "A large police operation took place in Boulogne-Billancourt following a telephone hoax announcing a hostage taking by an armed man."
The mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt, Pierre-Christophe Baguet, later slammed the hoax.
He "denounced it in bad taste which unnecessarily mobilised the police force".
He announced the police cordon blocking off the area would be lifted.
A supposedly armed man had claimed to be "entrenched" with one or more people, but the police were said to have concluded shortly before 7pm local time that the call was a hoax.
One local tweeted a picture of the emergency services leaving the scene, adding the caption: "Departure of the police and firefighter convoys in Boulogne Billancourt, the district is unbuckled."