Hostage drama at Berlin bank ends

A hostage drama in a Berlin bank branch has ended peacefully, with the release of an employee and the arrest of his assailant.

The hostage-taker, a German man aged around 20, originally demanded a million euros and a safe getaway, according to the Daily Bild website.

However, after several hours of negotiations he agreed to release the bank worker, police said.

Officers then entered the Deutsche Bank branch in southwest Berlin's Zehlendorf district, and arrested the suspect who put up no resistance.

The unidentified assailant had taken the bank employee hostage in the German capital on Friday afternoon just before the branch was due to close.

Around 20 other employees were inside at the time and managed to get to an upper floor where they were not seen by the hostage-taker. They were able to escape swiftly through a side door.

The drama ended about 1.20am on Saturday (local time), police said.

Some reports said the man claimed to have explosives in a case but police did not confirm or deny the information.

The freed hostage was safe and well and would be given psychological support, a spokesman said.

Deutsche Bank is Germany's biggest lender.

- AFP

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