Police storm Warsaw hotel room, free three captive Jewish teens
Brazilian youths on 'March of the Living' rescued by police after held hostage by Kuwaiti named 'Mohammed A.'
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.