Details are few. It seems the alert was a false alarm but Paris police weren’t taking any chances.
Police shut down part of central Paris in a counter-terror operation after witnesses reported hearing gunfire on Saturday afternoon.
Part of the Les Halles and Châtelet areas were cordoned off by armed officers as security operations continued, with members of the public and tourists warned to stay away from the French capital’s 1st Arrondissement.
Police said the operation was concluded by 4.50pm (3.50pm BST), saying there was “no danger to report”, but gave no further details.
Local reports said a hostage situation was feared to be underway at a local church but there was no confirmation of the claims.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots near the Saint Leu Saint Gilles church, sparking panic before the arrival of “massive” numbers of security forces, Le Parisien reported.
The French government’s “SAIP” public warning system had sent out an electronic notification reading “church attack alert” at 4.30pm local time (3.30pm BST) but gave no further information.
France remains on high alert following a series of stabbings and attacks, with police powers intensified by a continuing state of emergency.