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Hostages Released In Norway

Police stand at the sign post naming the town where an unidentified man has taken children and teachers hostage Monday, May 15, 2000, in Hjelmeland, Norway
AP
A man believed who took 25 children and 10 staff hostage at a Norwegian nursery school and children's surrendered Monday, releasing all the hostages unharmed after 10 hours, police said.

The unidentified gunman surrendered after meeting with a well-known criminal defense lawyer and speaking on national television. The man said he had taken hostages because he had been denied the right to see his own child, then was driven away in a police car with his attorney. The schoolhouse is located in Hjelmeland, a town of about 2,500 people some 185 miles west of the capital, Oslo.

Police and ambulance crews immediately moved in to get the five children and two female staff that had remained trapped by the man after he released 28 others earlier Monday.

"I'm sitting here knowing that my first teen-ager just turned 13 in May, and I'm not even allowed to call," the man said in a telephone call broadcast live by the TV-2 network before he surrendered. "Many would kill themselves because they couldn't handle it."

Police refused to release the hostage taker's name or say anything about potential motives, although news media speculated that one of the female hostages was somehow involved in a rape case in which the man was a suspect. Police confirmed that the hostage taker was armed but refused to say what kind of weapon he had.

The Internet version of the daily Dagbladet said the man had been due to go to court Monday in Stavanger charged with attempted rape.

"The man is up for trial," Norwegian TV reporter Bjorn Grimen told CBS News Correspondent Tom Rivers. "The rumors say that it (could be for) an assault on a woman who works in the kindergarten."

The gunman called police shortly before midday (6 a.m. EDT) to say he was holding 25 children and ten adults captive in the center. He threatened to kill the children, who range in age up to six years old. In late afternoon, two lawyers arrived to try to negotiate a deal.

Police declined comment on reports that the man was the father of one of the children at the center. About 800 people live in Hjelmeland.

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