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Armed student kills two in Moscow school hostage crisis

An armed student entered a Moscow school on Monday and took more than 20 teenagers hostage in an incident that also claimed the lives of a policeman and a teacher, security officials said. The hostage-taker was one of the students of school number 263 on the northern outskirts of Moscow, police officials said. A policeman and a biology teacher were killed in the hostage crisis, which sparked fresh security fears in Russia ahead of the start of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi this week.

Armed man takes hostages in Moscow school

An armed man entered a Moscow school on Monday and took more than 20 teenagers hostage, Russian police officials said. The man was the father of one of the children of Moscow school number 263, an interior ministry spokesman told the Interfax news agency. Initial reports said the man opened fire on police officers who rushed to the scene, injuring one. zak/as/yad

Iraq forces kill attackers, free hostages

Iraqi forces ended a hostage crisis in Baghdad on Thursday after they killed four remaining attackers who stormed a building occupied by a state-owned company, officials said. The remaining hostages were freed, interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said. A police colonel and another interior ministry official confirmed that the attackers had been killed. ak/psr/dv

Hong Kong imposes sanctions on Philippines over hostage drama

Hong Kong announced Wednesday it was imposing sanctions on the Philippines because of its "unacceptable" failure to apologise for a deadly hostage crisis more than three years ago. The current visa-free arrangement for visiting Philippine diplomats and officials will be suspended from February 5, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told a press conference. Currently they are able to stay 14 days without a visa.

Hong Kong announces "1st phase" of sanctions against Philippines

Hong Kong's government Wednesday announced the "first phase" of sanctions against the Philippines for failing to apologize for the 2010 Manila tour bus hostage-taking incident, in which eight of its citizens were killed, by suspending a visa-free arrangement for Philippine officials. In announcing the move, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying said the lack of a formal apology to the victims and their relatives is unacceptable, so his government will implement necessary sanctions to bring a satisfactory conclusion to the incident.

Alberta Appeal Court rejects hostage-taker's attempt to rescind guilty pleas

EDMONTON - A man who held a group of people hostage at gunpoint in an Edmonton Workers’ Compensation Board building has lost his appeal. Patrick Clayton had asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to rescind his guilty pleas or, failing that, reduce his 11-year prison sentence. Clayton, who was armed with a hunting rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition, herded nine people into a conference room in the downtown building in 2009. He surrendered peacefully 10 hours later. He pleaded guilty to hostage-taking, pointing a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Algeria defends response to In Amenas hostage crisis

Algeria Friday defended its controversial military intervention to end the bloody seizure by armed Islamists last year of the In Amenas desert gas plant, in which 38 hostages were killed. "The intervention by the Algerian security forces was imperative for saving hundreds of human lives and for protecting a strategic site that the terrorists were planning to blow up," foreign ministry spokesman Amar Belani said in a statement.

Kidnapped French priest freed in Cameroon

A French Roman Catholic priest held hostage for seven weeks by Islamic militants in Cameroon arrived home in France on Wednesday a day after his release, hailed as a New Year's gift. Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, who was freed on Tuesday, said he had not been mistreated by his captors despite being kept in "rustic conditions". Smiling, and freshly shaven, the priest was greeted in Paris by President Francois Hollande and a group of loved ones.

Kidnapped French priest freed in Cameroon arrives home

French President Francois Hollande praised the "courage" of a Roman Catholic priest held hostage for seven weeks by Islamic militants in Cameroon as the cleric arrived home to a joyous welcome on Wednesday. Hollande greeted Georges Vandenbeusch, who was freed on Tuesday, on the 42-year-old's return to Paris. Vandenbeusch had been kidnapped on November 13 by heavily armed men who burst into his parish at night in the far north of the central African country and took him to neighbouring Nigeria. Hollande hailed the priest for his "courage" and "self-sacrifice".

Armed youths take state TV journalists hostage in DR Congo

Reporters from Congolese state television RTNC were taken hostage in Kinshasa on Monday by armed youths, police said. "They are armed with machetes and guns. They have taken reporters hostage. An operation is under way to dislodge them," police spokesman colonel Mwana Mputu told AFP. Before the station's television feed was cut, two young presenters were seen on screen, appearing frightened but calm, with a young man standing behind them seemingly threatening them. Residents reported hearing gun shots ringing out from around the RTNC building.
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