Switzerland: Police shoot dead axe-wielding hostage-taker on train

Switzerland: Police shoot dead axe-wielding hostage-taker on train
A police office taking photos inside a stopped trainGetty Images

Police in Switzerland have shot dead a man armed with an axe and a knife who took 15 passengers hostage on a train on Thursday night.

The hostage-taker, reported to be a 32-year-old asylum seeker from Iran, boarded a local train near Yverdon.

He forced the driver to stop the train and to join passengers in the carriage.

Officers stormed the train and “fatally wounded” the man after he attacked them, police reports say. The hostages were all released unharmed.

According to local media, the authorities were alerted by passengers on the train and more than 60 officers were in attendance.

Police, including a special unit from Geneva, surrounded the train and spent several hours trying to talk to the man in English and in Farsi, without success.

Late at night, when they observed the hostage-taker moving away from the passengers, they stormed the train using stun grenades.

According to police reports, the man attacked the police, at which point they used their firearms to protect the hostages and themselves, and the hostage taker was fatally shot.

Police say the motive for the hostage-taking is unclear. One passenger on the train said the perpetrator appeared “very stressed”.

Local reports say hostages and their families are being supported by the Swiss health service’s psychological department.

Little is known about the man, except that he was originally from Iran and had been assigned to an asylum seeker centre in Neuchatel.

Hostage dramas are rare in Switzerland, but have previously taken place at banks and businesses. In January 2022, employees at a watch-making firm were taken hostage and forced to open a vault.

Related Topics

Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman