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Apple store hostage crisis ends with gunman caught

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An armed member of the Dutch Special Intervention Service (DSI) arrives at Leidseplein during a hostage situation in an Amsterdam Apple Store on Tuesday. AFP

Apple store hostage crisis ends with gunman caught

A man with a firearm who held several people hostage at Apple’s flagship store in central Amsterdam was overpowered late on February 22 after a siege lasting several hours, police said, adding that the last of the hostages had been freed.

Police had deployed several special units to “get the situation under control” after being alerted of an armed robbery at 5:40pm (1640 GMT) which had rapidly transformed into a hostage situation.

Police said the gunman was “lying on the street and a robot was examining him for explosives” in front of the store in Leidseplein in the heart of the Dutch city.

“We managed to stop the hostage-taker by hitting him with a car the moment he ran outside”, a tweet said later.

“We now know that the suspect had no explosives on his body and medical staff are now taking care of him.”

The last hostage held in the store was safe, they added.

“Since the start of the hostage taking . . . several people have managed to leave the store,” they said earlier.

Leidseplein is popular with tourists and known for its lively bars and cafes. The area was quickly closed and the restaurants, bars and theatres were shut after the hostage taking.

The police were monitoring images circulating on social media which would eventually be used in an investigation, they added.

Dutch public television NOS said the hostage taker was injured and was driven away in an ambulance.

Tim Wagemakers, an independent journalist who was in a nearby building, tweeted there were heavily armed police at the site, adding that locals had been asked to remain inside and stay away from their windows.

The building he was in was evacuated during the hostage-taking.

Images on social media showed an assailant holding a man at gunpoint, local media reported. Several witnesses heard gunshots inside the Apple Store, according to the AT5 outlet.

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