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UPDATED: Standoff In Toulouse Ends, Hostages Freed, Man Claiming Al Qaeda Links Shot



TOULOUSE - This southwestern French city was the scene of a new standoff on Wednesday, with a man claiming to belong to Al Qaeda taking four hostages in a bank. Last March Mohammed Merah, killed three French soldiers and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse and was killed after a long standoff with the French elite RAID police force.

According to Europe 1, the standoff came to an end late Wednesday afternoon after police forces raided the bank. The French radio station is reporting that the man, thought to be named Boumaza, is a schizophrenic who had gone off his medication. His sister was on site to help the police with their negotiations.

All four hostages were released unharmed, but Boumaza was shot in the stomach during the raid, reports Le Parisien. Two of the four hostages had been released by the suspect in the mid-afternoon. Sources are indicating that this was a hold-up gone wrong.

Earlier in the day, a police representative told Ouest France: "We don't know if the Al Qaeda claim is serious or unreliable."

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food / travel

Seven Wacky (And Boozy) Races Around The World

Alcohol, food, costumes and ... wife carrying? Around the world, people have imbued weirdness and fun into the very serious sporting events that are marathons and races. Follow us in exploring the silliest ones out there.

Photograph of runners dressed up in carnival costumes during the Cape Wine Marathon​. They are running next to vineyards on a hill.

Runners dressed up in carnival costumes during the Cape Wine Marathon

Cape Wine Marathon/Facebook
Valeria Berghinz

Long distance running is an athletic feat that many associate with months of hard training, muscle strains and unbelievable breath control work. Running a marathon is no joke — except when it is.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

Around the world, lovers of athleticism have found ways to turn the sport of racing into a fun, and often outright weird, event. Sometimes it's about costumes, other times its about putting a twist on cultural traditions, and a lot of the time it's about alcohol.

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