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Russian Special Forces Kill Bank Hostage Taker


MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian special forces have stormed a bank and killed an armed man who had taken at least five people hostage in Russia's coal-producing region of Kemerovo, the local governor said.

"They wiped him out five minutes ago," said local governor Aman Tuleyev, who negotiated with the hostage taker. "The special services did what they had to."

He said none of the hostages had been injured, but Interfax news agency said one woman had a heart attack after being released. She was taken to hospital.

The hostage taker, armed with guns and grenades, seized control of the Ursa Bank in the city of Leninsk-Kuznetsky, about 3,000 kilometers east of Moscow, and demanded that a friend be freed from jail.

Local officials said the man also wanted money and an aeroplane to make his escape.

The Kemerovo region, Russia's biggest coal-producing region, has been badly hit by the economic crisis because major steel producers have slashed their coal consumption.