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Germany hostage-taking: 5 killed as gunman resists eviction

Five deaths have been reported after a man facing eviction took several people hostage in his home in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.

German hostage taking 4 7 2012Enlarge
Members of the forensic police enter the house where a gunman had taken several people, including a bailiff, hostage during a home eviction in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, on July 4, 2012. (Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)

BERLIN, Germany — Up to five people are reported dead in a hostage-taking in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.

The hostage-taker is believed to be among those killed, police told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

He is said to have been facing eviction from his apartment after failing to pay rent.

Officials were sent to evict him this morning and were greeted with multiple gunshots, the Associated Press reported. The man also claimed to have a hand grenade, one witness told Die Welt.

The gunman is believed to have forced the bailiff, a locksmith, the apartment block caretaker and the property owner into his property, though their identities have not yet been confirmed.

Special forces were sent to the scene and attempted to contact the hostage-taker, Karlsruhe police spokesman Juergen Scheufer told the AP. It is not known whether they succeeded.

Commandos eventually stormed the apartment after smelling smoke, according to Reuters

They first saw four dead bodies inside; another, that of a woman thought to be the apartment owner, was discovered upon searching the property, said Agence France Presse.

All the victims died of gunshot wounds, DPA reported.

Police are still investigating what happened. They are due to give more details at a press conference later today.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/120704/germany-hostage-taking-4-killed-karlsruhe