December 21, 2016 / 11:56 AM / 8 months ago

Fake suicide vest sparks terror scare in foiled Paris heist

PARIS (Reuters) - Would-be bank robbers in Paris on Wednesday fitted their victim with what he and police arriving on the scene thought was a suicide vest, sparking a brief terror scare, police sources said.

Two individuals who planned to steal the cash delivery fled empty-handed when the man managed to raise the alarm.

But police took fright on arrival at the scene and called in bomb-squad reinforcements, before confirming that he was in fact the victim of a foiled heist and the vest was fake.

Fears of attacks by Islamist militants are running high in France, where more than 230 people have been killed in assaults in two years. The fears were exacerbated by this week's carnage at a Christmas market in Berlin, where police forces are hunting for a person who mowed a large truck into crowds, killing 12.

Wednesday's foiled heist occurred in the northeast of Paris. Police sources said that it was not, however, the first time that the tactic had been used to try to force employees of cash-transport companies to hand over wads of banknotes.

Reporting by French service staff; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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