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Standoff ends at Amsterdam Apple Store, hostage safe

by editor

An hours-long hostage standoff at the Apple Store in Amsterdam ended late Tuesday with police in a car driving into the hostage-taker as he ran from the store. His hostage was safe, police said.

“We can confirm that the hostage-taker is out of the Apple Store,” police said in a tweet. “He is lying on the street and a robot is checking him for explosives. Armed police officers have him under control from a distance. The hostage is safe.”

Police then said that the man did not have explosives and that medical staff were attending to him. There was no word on his condition.

The motive for the incident was not immediately clear. Local broadcaster AT5 suggested the standoff was the result of an attempted armed robbery. AT5 said witnesses reported hearing shots fired.

Dozens of police, including heavily armed specialist arrest teams, massed around the store, cleared and sealed off the nearby Leidseplein square and urged people living there or in shops or cafes nearby to remain indoors. The square ringed by bars and restaurants is close to one of the Dutch capital’s main shopping streets.

Police said dozens of people managed to leave the building during the standoff but declined to give more details about the situation in the popular store.

As police lines were set up to keep people away from the store, a helicopter could be heard hovering overhead. The police asked people not to publish images or livestream the hostage situation “for the safety of the people involved and our deployment.”

Earlier, video posted on social media appeared to show an armed person in the store, apparently holding somebody else. It was not clear how many people were in the store.

A spokesman for Apple in the Netherlands did not respond to requests seeking comment.

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