Police in Paris are responding to a hostage situation at a store in the 12th arrondissement. According to local reports, the assailant is armed with a knife and took two women hostage. Police later said one woman was released.

A hostage situation has been underway in Paris since 15:30pm (14:30pm GMT) Monday, according to police. In a later update, authorities said the assailant had released one of the women unharmed and negotiations were ongoing.

French media said two women were being held at knifepoint in a store by a man demanding to speak with Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

Prise d’otages dans un magasin à Paris : deux personnes séquestrées, le quartier bouclé @actufrparis

Police have set up a perimeter near the Aligre quarter, a local market area, in the 12th arrondissement. According to France’s BFM TV, sources have identified the attacker and claim he has a history of psychiatric issues.

In a tweet, first deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, urged people to avoid the area, while announcing that he was himself traveling to the scene of the incident.

A police statement said that specialist units of the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) were at the scene.

According to French media, the assailant also wants to be put in touch with the lawyer of Omar Raddad. Raddad, a Morrocan ex-gardener was convicted in 1994 for the murder of his wealthy employer, Ghislaine Marchal.

Last week, the court decided to reopen the case on foot of new DNA evidence presented by the defense. Raddad, who has already been released from prison, has repeatedly insisted he was innocent and is seeking to clear his name.