Anti-terrorist police are surrounding the Mixicom computer store in the French capital's 10th arrondissement, close to the Gare du Nord Eurostar hub.
At least one man was lightly injured while fighting with the hostage-taker and escaping before the BRI officers arrived on the scene, a police source said.
The male suspect reportedly asked to speak with the ambassador of Iran, Lefebvre said. Video on BFM-TV showed a demining device for bombs at the scene.
There were no immediate details on the age, appearance or nationality of the hostage taker. More than a dozen heavily-armed police officers, firefighters and rescue workers were stationed outside the entrance of the building where the hostages were being held. "His demands were really vague and incoherent", said an interior ministry official.
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