Police officers stand outside a suburban clothing store, in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, north of Paris on July 13, 2015.
Thibault Camus���AP
Updated: July 13, 2015 5:51 AM ET | Originally published: July 13, 2015 4:16 AM EDT

Special forces were called in to evacuate 18 people from a mall on the outskirts of Paris, after a clothing store inside the mall was besieged by three gunmen.

The gunmen entered the Primark outlet located in the Qwartz shopping centre early Thursday morning in an attempt to rob it, Agence France-Presse reported. The 18 evacuees are all employees, one of whom first alerted her boyfriend about the attack via text message.

“At around 06:30, two or three armed criminals went into the Primark store for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery,” said a police source, requesting anonymity.

All traffic around the mall in the Parisian suburb of Villeneuve-la-Garenne has been halted, and authorities said the gunmen are still at large. Police have thus far ruled out a terrorist attack, and believe the situation to be an attempted robbery.

The hostages “were evacuated around 10.30, one of them was unwell but no one was injured,” police said.


Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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