Man with gun takes at least one hostage at Apple store in Amsterdam, police say

AMSTERDAM, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Dutch police said on Tuesday they had sent special units to a central square in Amsterdam because a gunman had taken one or more people hostage at an Apple store.

Several video clips on broadcaster AT5’s website appeared to show a person being held in the store at gunpoint.

“There is a person with a gun in the store… the police force is there with many units and specialist units at the scene to bring the situation under control,” Amsterdam police tweeted.

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“We are restricting information about the situation in the Apple Store… so as not to disrupt our investigation and efforts there,” they said. They then confirmed that it was a hostage-taking, without specifying how many hostages there were.

Police cleared the square and asked neighbors to stay inside and not come out to watch.

The Apple Store is located at one end of the upscale Leidseplein, a square south of central Amsterdam.

The largest city in the Netherlands has seen a series of four armed robberies at mobile phone shops in 2021, prompting some shops to remove most of their phone supplies, which were targeted. However, none of the thefts had taken place in the city center.

Gun violence is not uncommon in the Netherlands, but hostage taking is extremely rare.

In 2015, a man with a gun broke into a TV studio demanding screen time. No one was injured and the man was later convicted of hostage taking.

And in 2002, a gunman hijacked an office building he mistakenly thought belonged to Philips Electronics. He committed suicide and did not harm any hostages.

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Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Howard Goller and Jonathan Oatis

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