Belgian police detain 3 in Ghent city after apartment siege; terror motive is excluded

Special forces police install special equipment on a van, in Ghent, western Belgium, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Four armed men have entered an apartment, and police have blocked off a wide perimeter around the area. Police said Monday that three hours after the men entered the apartment it was still unclear whether they had taken any hostages. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

GHENT, Belgium - Belgian police detained three men after reports of a hostage taking in an apartment building in the western city of Ghent on Monday. No one was injured in the incident.

Federal police spokeswoman Annemie Serlippens excluded any political or terror motive.

"We are sure that it has nothing to do with terrorism," Serlippens said. "We think it might be drug related."

Authorities reacted early Monday to a report that several armed men had entered the apartment block in the working-class neighbourhood. Immediately, police set up a big security operation to keep bystanders away.

When heavily armed police officials moved into the building, they found the alleged victim in his apartment unharmed. It wasn't clear if he had been attacked or held hostage. No more details were immediately available.

Local media reported a previous hostage incident in Ghent two months ago that was linked to extortion.


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