Chechnyans Take Hostages at Swisshotel in Istanbul : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

The Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey (April 22, 2001 6:26 p.m. EDT) - Armed with automatic rifles and shotguns, Pro-Chechen rebels stormed a hotel in central Istanbul on Sunday and seized hostages, the Anatolia news agency reported.

It was not clear if anyone was injured or how many hostages were taken.

The rebels are apparently demanding to speak with Turkish Interior Minister Saadettin Tantan, Anatolia said.

Hundreds of police surrounded the Swissotel in central Istanbul early Monday morning. At least six ambulances were outside of the hotel, which overlooks the Bosporus.

Hotel worker Alisan Ercan said he heard shots and saw four or five gunmen in the lobby as he ran from the hotel.

Hotel guests were hiding between tables in the lobby, Ercan said. Other guests escaped the hotel through fire exits.

-- Rachel Gibson (, April 22, 2001

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