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Belgian Police Storm Building, End Siege

  • Reuters

Special forces police install special equipment on a van in Ghent, western Belgium, Dec. 15, 2014.

Special forces police install special equipment on a van in Ghent, western Belgium, Dec. 15, 2014.

Belgian armed police stormed an apartment in the western city of Ghent on Monday to end a siege after reports that gunmen had taken a hostage there.

The victim was safe and three other men had been detained, a spokeswoman for state prosecutors said.

"Three men have been taken away though there were no weapons found. The earlier reports were of four men with kalashnikovs," she said. "It's not entirely clear whether someone was in fact taken hostage."

Armed police in balaclavas emerged about 1 p.m from the cordoned-off building in the Dampoort district. "It's over," one police officer said.

Belgian broadcaster VRT cited neighbors as saying that the flat had been used by drug dealers.

The Belgium incident happened hours after a gunman took hostages in a downtown cafe in Australia's largest city, at times forcing the hostages to hold a black flag with an Islamic inscription in the window.

The Belgian prosecution spokeswoman said there was no indication of a link in the Ghent case to terrorism.

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