Armed Man Takes 12 Hostage in Northwestern Turkey

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Ankara: Turkish security officials say an armed man has taken a dozen people hostage at a bank in the country’s northwestern province of Kocaeli, in a standoff that has now reportedly ended.

Kocaeli’s provincial police chief Levent Yarimel said on Saturday that the gunman, who had explosives strapped on, took the people captive in the provincial capital city of Izmit, which is also known as Kocaeli, on Friday.

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Later on Friday, security forces stormed the bank, ending the drama that had already lasted for more than six hours.

Yarimel confirmed that “the operation is over,” adding that the armed man was seriously injured in a shootout with police forces.
The top Turkish police official went on to say that all the 12 hostages in the bank were rescued unharmed, and the explosive materials defused.

Yarimel said eight hostages had managed to escape through the windows before the police raid though.

The arrested hostage-taker, whose identity was not immediately available, was reportedly of Syrian origin and has told Turkish police officials that he tried to rob the bank in order to pay for health services his family urgently needed.

Initial investigations show the Syrian national acted alone, and had no affiliation to any militant group.

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