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Police Free Hostages in Astrakhan College Siege

March 15 2013, 09:28

Russian police released several hostages held at a college in the southern city of Astrakhan on Thursday and detained the suspected hostage-taker, the Interior Ministry said.

Four people, including two young girls, were held hostage at the Volga-Caspian marine fishing industry college by a man claiming to be armed with a bomb, the regional branches of the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee said earlier. One hostage was later released by the man.

“During a special operation, the other hostages were set free and the man who had held them hostage was detained. The hostages were unharmed,” the Interior Ministry said.

Along with the hostage-taker, the police detained his girlfriend who is a student of the college where the incident occurred, the Interior Ministry said.

The Interior Ministry previously said a security guard, two college teachers and two students were among the five hostages.

The man who had seized them claimed a box he was holding contained explosives, but the police later said they found no weapons or explosives, the Interior Ministry said.

“After the police released the hostages and detained the suspect, they started to inspect the box, which the man claimed contained explosives. It turned out that there was a dummy in the box while the pistol seized from the man was a toy,” the ministry said.

The hostage-taker had urgently demanded pizza be delivered to him during the siege, a regional police source earlier told RIA Novosti earlier. There was no other information about the apparent motive for the crime or any other demands from the hostage-taker.

RIA Novosti

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