By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – After five long hours, a hostage standoff that captivated the Netherlands ended at the Apple Store in downtown Amsterdam with a police car driving into the hostage-taker.
The 27-year-old attacker, armed with an automatic rifle and a handgun, was hit as he ran from the store at the Dutch capital’s Leidseplein square after his hostage had escaped.
The hostage-taker, who reportedly demanded 200 million euros ($226 million) in cryptocurrency ransom, was later rushed to hospital with serious injuries. His hostage was safe, police said.
Earlier, dozens of customers trapped in the popular store managed to escape, officials confirmed.
As people living nearby looked on in horror, police announced that “We can confirm that the hostage-taker is out of the Apple Store.”
He “is lying on the street, and a robot checks him for explosives. Armed police officers have him under control from a distance.”
Police then said that the man dressed in camouflage did not have explosives and that medical staff attended to him.
Local broadcaster AT5 suggested the standoff resulted from an attempted armed robbery. AT5 said witnesses reported hearing shots fired when the hostage crisis began.
The last remaining hostage, a 44-year-old British man, escaped when a package was delivered at the store, Dutch media reported.
When the hostage-taker went after him, the police could hit the perpetrator.
The man rolled hard over the hood, after which he ended up on the street. Images showed how he was struck by a police car and then left motionless.
It was unclear whether the man was mentally unstable. The hostage drama followed several armed robberies around smartphone stores in the Amsterdam area.
It came while the Netherlands slowly reopened after one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.
The square where the hostages were held is ringed by bars and restaurants and close to one of the Dutch capital’s main shopping streets.
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