An armed man took hostages on Tuesday morning at a school complex just south of Paris, according to police officials. Children were initially among the hostages, but the man appears to now be holding one adult.

One police official said the man was carrying a gun; others said they did not know what weapon he had. The police official said officers from the elite Raid force were on site to negotiate with the man.

The man took the hostages in Vitry-sur-Seine, a commuter town with residents from a variety of socioeconomic classes. Another police official said that all the children at the complex, which includes nursery and elementary schools, were safe. He added that the adult being held is a parent of one of the children.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of police rules.

French schools are on summer vacation, but many are running summer activities.

In late June, a man took four employees of a bank hostage in Toulouse. Authorities at the time said he appeared to be mentally ill and ranted disjointedly about religious motives.

Toulouse is the southern French city that was terrorised by a gunman whom police say claimed links to al-Qaeda and killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers. The suspected perpetrator, Mohamed Merah, was killed after a long standoff with the Raid police.

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