Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Son of Kuwaiti ambassador takes three Jewish teens captive in Warsaw

The Kuwaiti ambassador to Poland, unnamed in the following reports, is Khaled Al-Shibani.

from the AP via Ha'aretz: Police storm Warsaw hotel room, free three captive Jewish teens

Police stormed a hotel room in Warsaw Monday, after a Kuwaiti man identified as Mohammad A. and claiming he had a bomb, briefly held captive three Jewish teenagers, who were staying there for Holocaust commemoration ceremonies, police said.

The three Brazilians - originally identified as Israelis - were pulled into a sixth-floor room of Warsaw's Holiday Inn after 9 A.M. by the 23-year-old suspect, said police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski.

Police broke into the room just before 10 A.M. and took the suspect into custody without incident, Sokolowski said. None of the captives was harmed, and police found no explosives.

It was not immediately clear what the suspect sought, but David Peleg, Israel's ambassador to Poland, said he had been informed the man was intoxicated.

"As far as we know at this stage ... a man was behaving wildly on the ground floor of the Holiday Inn hotel in central Warsaw, he was apparently drunk," Peleg told Israel Radio.

He took refuge in one of the rooms where there were three Brazilian Jewish youths, who were taking part in The March of The Living commemoration at the former Auschwitz death camp.

In Warsaw, Israeli Embassy spokesman Michal Sobelman confirmed the Jewish youths were from Brazil. He could give no further details.

A bartender at the Holiday Inn said the suspect had a beer in the bar in the morning but had no money to pay for the drink, and someone else covered the 15 zlotys (US$7) cost. The man said he was from Kuwait, the bartender told The Associated Press.

Sokolowski confirmed that the suspect was not from Poland, but did not have any other details.

Warsaw police spokesman Marcin Szyndler said the Jewish teenagers did not need medical care and were taken to a police station for questioning about the incident.

"It all did not take long, probably only minutes," Szyndler told The Associated Press. "Luckily, it ended only with threats."

The hotel was evacuated for a routine search. The area around the hotel was sealed off and police vans, ambulances and firefighters' trucks were at the scene.

Around 10,000 people from around the world, mostly Jewish, took part in the March of the Living on Thursday, an annual event at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau that honors the memory of some 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

At least 1.1 million people, including Jews, Poles and Roma, perished in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labor. The camp was liberated in January 1945 by Soviet troops.

and from the Jerusalem Post: Polish police say son of Kuwaiti ambassador held three teens captive

A man who claimed he had a bomb and briefly held three Jewish teenagers captive in a Warsaw hotel is the son of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Poland, Polish police said Tuesday.

National police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said the 23-year-old Kuwaiti suspect identified as Mohammad A. "is the son of the Kuwaiti ambassador." Sokolowski said the man was too drunk to undergo questioning Monday.

Police said the suspect pulled three Brazilians into their room of Warsaw's Holiday Inn after 9 a.m. on Monday. Police say no explosives were found.

Police stormed the room just before 10 a.m. and took Mohammad A. into custody without incident. None of the captives were harmed.

The Kuwaiti Embassy could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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