Where Is Roubaix, And What Is It Known For? A Hostage Situation In Northern France Has Left Several Injured

On Tuesday, a hostage situation, possibly related to a robbery, took place in Northern France, in the town of Roubaix. Where is Roubaix, and what is the city known for? Reuters is reporting that police in the city — located near the French-Belgian border, about 146 miles north of Paris — have cordoned off the area surrounding a residence where armed men were holding a bank manager and his family hostage. Gunshots were also reported.

(Update: Authorities have confirmed that the hostage situation is over and not linked to terrorism, and that all the hostages were freed.)

The incident is not believed to be associated with terrorism or the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. But the hostage-takers, who reportedly began firing at police attempting a traffic stop, were armed with AK-47s, and French counter-terrorism unit RAID arrived on the scene to assist police efforts. The shootout is ongoing at the intersection of avenue Gustave Delory and rue Vaillant in Roubaix. Local newspaper La Voix du Nord has reported that several people were injured by gunshots, but there is no official word on the number of hostages or injuries. The UK news outlet The Independent reports that several police officers have been injured.

Roubaix has a population of around 95,000 people, and is best known for hosting the finish line of the Paris-Roubaix professional cycling race. The one-day street race, which started in 1896, is held annually in early April.

Roubaix is also very close to Lille, yet another Northern French city with its economic roots in textile production. Lille and Roubaix both host a number of important architectural sights.