Nov 25, 6:37 PM EST

Gunmen seize jewels and hostage in Paris heist

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PARIS (AP) -- Two gunmen robbed a Cartier jewelry boutique in a tony and tourist-filled Paris neighborhood Tuesday, fled police in a chase across the Seine River, took a hostage - and then surrendered, authorities said.

The unusual drama in the French capital sent heads turning from the Champs-Elysees shopping district to the southern neighborhood where the gunmen holed up in a hair salon. Police cordoned off a large area during a nearly two-hour standoff, and a helicopter circled.

Two armed assailants first targeted the jewelry boutique, then fled as police tried to stop them, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

They dragged a woman from the boutique at gunpoint, then let her go outside, said witness Julien Reabourg, who works in a bar across the street.

"I got my clients away from the window in order to avoid stray bullets going left and right that could hit one of them. So we went to the back of the bar and after we could hear gunfire," he told The Associated Press.

The gunmen fled across town on a scooter. When their scooter fell, "they rushed into the first shop they could find and they took the manager of this hair salon hostage," said Philippe Goujoun, mayor of Paris 15th arrondissement, or district.

The merchant was later safely released after negotiations with police, the Interior Ministry said. The gunmen surrendered and the stolen jewels were recovered, it said.

The identities of the gunmen and the woman they briefly took hostage were not immediately released.

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