Amsterdam hostage who helped end siege praised for bravery

Police hailed a hostage held by a gunman in an Apple store in Amsterdam as a hero on Wednesday after he helped end the tense, hours-long ordeal that gripped the Dutch city.

A 27-year-old man carrying a handgun and semi-automatic weapon entered the store late Tuesday, taking a Bulgarian man hostage and demanding €200m in cryptocurrency.

Police were called to the building at 5:30pm after the camouflage-wearing suspect entered the store in the Leidseplein neighbourhood, prompting a chaotic exodus from the building. About 70 people fled the building and four people hid in a closet, apparently unknown to the suspect.

Five hours later, the suspect asked for water. Footage showed the hostage bending down as the water was delivered, before running out of the building followed closely by the suspect.

The suspect was then hit by a police car before a robot checked him for explosives as he lay on the road lit up with lasers from police snipers.

“A car from the special forces reacted very adequately and alertly,” Frank Paauw, a police chief, said in an overnight press conference, hailing the hostage’s bravery. “The hostage has played a hero role. In a few split seconds he escaped this hostage situation, otherwise it would have been an even longer night and nasty night.”

The suspect aimed an automatic weapon at officers, Frank Paauw, a police chief, said, as special police units arrived at the scene Tuesday and cordoned off the area around the shop.

Police confirmed that the suspect was wearing an explosive device but that “it was not primed” during the incident. The man was taken to hospital “seriously injured”, police said, adding that a wide-ranging investigation had begun. “All options are open over a possible motive,” they added, saying that at least two homes in the Dutch capital had been searched.

All Apple stores across the Netherlands were closed on Wednesday. The site where the hostages were taken would remain closed until Thursday, the company…

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