Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Siberian bank suspect shot dead

A Russian policeman near the bank where the hostages were seized in Leninsk-Kuznetsky
Police cordoned off the bank

Russian police have shot dead a man suspected of holding up a bank in western Siberia and freed five people he took hostage, officials say.

Aman Tuleyev, the tough-talking governor of the Kemerovo region, went on national TV to announce the news: "He got whacked five minutes ago."

All five hostages - three men and two women - survived, he added.

Police had surrounded the bank in the mining town of Leninsk-Kuznetsky after reports of the robbery.

The suspect was reportedly armed with a gun and at least one grenade and was said to be demanding money and a plane and, reportedly, the release of a friend from custody.

'Plane demand'

Governor Tuleyev said it "pained" him to announce the deadly end to the stand-off at a branch of the Ursa Bank.

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He said the hostage-taker had been shot dead by Omon paramilitary police after negotiations failed amid threats from the man to blow up the bank.

The governor added that the hostage-taker had changed his demands several times during the stand-off and suggested further negotiations would have been useless.

One of the three women seized by the attacker was taken to hospital suffering from a heart complaint.

A young man had burst into the bank in Leninsk-Kuznetsky at 1900 local time (1200 GMT) and seized hostages, Kemerovo police said earlier.

During the siege, Sergei Cheremnov, a spokesman for the regional governor, told AFP news agency that the man appeared to have a non-Russian accent.

"He's demanding money and possibly a plane to leave either the region or Russia," Mr Cheremnov said.

Leninsk-Kuznetsky is a town of 108,000 people in the Kuznetsk Basin mining country, and is closely connected to coal mining.

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Xinhua News Agency Hostage taker in Russia's west Siberia killed - 42 hrs ago
Denver Post Russian police free bank hostages, kill gunman - 43 hrs ago
Daily Telegraph Australia Hostages safe after gunman 'slapped down' - 43 hrs ago
Herald Sun 4:49amHostages safe after gunman 'slapped down' - 43 hrs ago
Itar Tass Siberian bank hostage-take killed, hostages freed - 44 hrs ago

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