Gunman shot dead, hostage rescued in Estonia (Lead)

August 11th, 2011 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 11 (IANS) A gunman who took a hostage and created a small blast Thursday at the Estonian defence ministry building in the capital Tallinn has been shot dead and the hostage rescued safely, media reports said.

The gunman, a retired soldier, seized a security guard as he broke into the building around 3.30 p.m. (1230 GMT), BBC reported.

The hostage is now safe, Xinhua reported citing local website www.err.ee.

Earlier, police arrived at the building and cordoned off the area. The building was evacuated.

Defence Minister Mart Laar was reportedly not in the building at the time.

The website of Estonian daily Postimees carried photographs showing ambulances, and police wearing body armour setting up a cordon around the ministry.

There were no civilian casualties, BBC said.

Witnesses told RIA Novosti that people leapt out of the building’s windows. A ministry source said the gunman first threatened staff with an explosive device and then opened fire.

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