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Axe-Wielding Hostage-Taker On Train Shot Dead By Police

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A man wielding an axe and knife as he held 15 hostages on a train in western Switzerland has been shot dead by police.

Swiss police said the perpetrator was a Farsi and English-speaking 32-year-old Iranian asylum seeker.

Fourteen passengers and the driver were held by the man for almost four hours before police stormed the train and killed him.

“The hostages were all released unharmed,” police said in a statement on Friday.

No details were given regarding the assailant’s motives.

The incident began on Thursday night on a train between Baulmes and Yverdon-les-Bains in the mountainous district of Vaud at around 6.35pm.

The perpetrator forced the driver to stop the train, lockdown its doors, and leave his post to join the others on board at the Essert-sous-Champvent station, according to local media reports.

Passengers stuck on the train alerted the police and the surrounding area was sealed off for police negotiators to make contact with the assailant, who had tied up some of the hostages, Swiss public broadcaster Radio Television Suisse (RTS) reported.

Train stormed

Police boarded the train at around 10.15pm after trying to convince the assailant to surrender.

Explosives were used to divert his attention, according to RTS.

“As the hostage-taker rushed with his axe in the direction of the intervention group, a police officer used his weapon to protect the hostages, fatally hitting the perpetrator,” police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel told reporters.

“For the moment, there are no elements which direct us towards a terrorist or extremist act.”

The man died at the scene and the hostages and their families were supported by an emergency response team.

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The public prosecutor’s office in Vaud is investigating the incident – and police response.

“It’s an unprecedented event given the number of victims, 15 hostages, and the intervention of 60 police,” Prosecutor General Eric Kaltenrieder told local television.

Hostage situations are rare in Switzerland but have occurred at banks and businesses.

In January 2022, employees of a watch-making firm were taken hostage and forced to open a vault containing precious metals.