German police free hostage at Cologne train station

Geraldine Edwards
October 15, 2018

- German police on October 15, 2018 closed down Cologne's central railway station to deal with what they called an ongoing "hostage situation".

DW's Dana Regev, who was on the ground, said Cologne's crisis negotiation unit had taken over part of the operation before police stormed the pharmacy.

A woman held hostage by the perpetrator was only "lightly wounded", police tweeted shortly after she was freed around 3:00 pm (1300 GMT).

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'We have indications that one man is holding one woman, but we haven't been able to really get close, ' Schulte said.

RPT police said a hostage was taken at Breslauer Platz, a major square near the busy train station.

"Eye-witnesses reported hearing shots, others spoke of smoke bombs, but we can not confirm any of that so far", a police spokesman told news channel NTV. Police believed the hostage-taker is armed.

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Police say officers have contact with the man and that trained hostage negotiators are working on the case.

Two explosions were heard in the area during the hostage rescue not long after elite counter-terrorism team (SEK) rushed to the pharmacy building, NTV broadcaster reported.

Deutsche Bahn, Germany's main train operator, said the station would be closed until further notice and all traffic, including long-distance connections, had been suspended.

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Police on Twitter told people to avoid the station. The suspect sustained life-threatening injuries.

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