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Axe-wielding man is killed by police after seizing 15 hostages on Swiss train

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Swiss police say a 32-year-old Iranian asylum-seeker was killed by police after he used an axe and a knife to seize more than a dozen hostages for several hours on a train in western Switzerland. No passengers were injured and authorities do not suspect terrorism.

The man took the hostages early Thursday evening and police, alerted by passengers, sealed off the area while the train was stopped in the town of Essert-sous-Champvert, police in the French-speaking Vaud region said Friday.

The man, speaking Farsi and English, demanded that the train engineer join the 15 hostages. Officials negotiated with the suspect on WhatsApp with the help of a Farsi translator.

Nearly four hours after the incident began, police stormed the train. More than 60 police were involved, police said in a statement.

“The hostages were all freed safe and sound,” police said. “The hostage-taker was mortally injured during the operation.”

Vincent Derouand, a spokesperson for the Vaud prosecutors’ office, said an investigation was underway in part to determine the man’s motive.

“Nothing points us towards a terrorist act or a jihadist act,” police spokesperson Jean-Christophe Sauterel told Swiss press.

AFP contributed to this report.

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