Special forces evacuated 18 people from a mall near Paris Monday after gunmen tried to hold up a Primark store inside, in what is believed to be an attempt to rob the shop, police said. The gunmen were still on the loose and believed to be inside the Qwartz mall in Villeneuve-la-Garenne just north of Paris. “Around 6:30am (04:30GMT) three armed criminals went into the Primark store for what we think was initially an attempt at armed robbery,” said an anonymous police source. “But we don’t know wether they are still there.” The area around the mall was shut down, all traffic stopped and other stores in the vicinity closed up as special forces rushed to the scene. The mall was promptly evacuated but according to police, some 18 employees had remained inside, holed up in a canteen. They “were evacuated around 10:30am, one of them was unwell but no one was injured,”police said, adding security forces were still hunting for the gunmen. The armed men were caught entering the mall on CCTV cameras but have not been filmed leaving the premises which indicates they are still inside. The incident comes on the eve of the traditional military parade that takes place every year in Paris on July 14, France’s national day.