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Regional train in western Switzerland

Photo: Laurent Gillieron / dpa

Bloody end to a hostage situation in western Switzerland: Armed with a knife and an ax, a man on a regional train in Switzerland threatened 14 passengers and the train driver on Thursday evening and held them hostage for almost four hours. In the end, the perpetrator was shot dead by the police.

After a police operation around 10:15 p.m., people were able to leave the train, as Attorney General Eric Kaltenrieder said at a press conference on Friday night. The perpetrator was a 32-year-old asylum seeker of Iranian nationality. The motive for his crime is still unclear. As things stand, the hostages did not suffer any physical harm.

Those affected had alerted the police from the train on the line between Baulmes and Yverdon-les-Bains in the canton of Vaud in French-speaking western Switzerland. More than 60 officers surrounded the train, which had come to a stop with the doors locked at the Essert-sous-Champvent stop, the police said. Snipers were placed.

Perpetrators distracted from the hostages with an explosive device

An interpreter was brought in to negotiate with the hostage taker - sometimes via WhatsApp. The police did not say what the man wanted. According to the Swiss newspaper “Blick”, the hostage taker spoke English and Farsi.

The emergency services finally took advantage of an opportunity when the perpetrator briefly moved away from the hostages to intervene. Explosives were used to distract him. A special unit then managed to get between the man and the hostages.

The man then charged at a police officer with the ax, who then fired. The attacker died on the spot despite immediate medical treatment. The police shooter is now being investigated as a routine matter.