France: Monks retirement home is attacked by gunman
A gunman wielding a sawn-off shotgun launched an attack on a retirement home for monks near Montpellier in the south of France last night.
Early reports suggested that a female security guard and a man had been killed during the attack. Reuters reported she contacted police before she was killed with a knife.
A police operation was under way to apprehend the attacker.
According to the initial reports, one individual - said to be hooded and armed with a knife and a sawn-off shotgun - broke into the retirement home where 70 elderly monks were being held hostage.
Witnesses say the man entered the building at around 8.45pm.
The police were last night trying to locate the attacker, who also bound and gagged a guard at the African Missions retirement home. A special unit of the gendarmerie, the PSIG-Sabre, was deployed to the evolving hostage situation. No information was immediately available about the attacker or his motivations.
The modern building is set in a typically Mediterranean wooded setting in Monferrier, on the outskirts of the city of Montpellier.