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Russian forces storm detention centre to rescue staff held hostage

Russian security forces stormed a detention centre in southern Russia, ending a hostage stand-off, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Sunday (AP)
Russian security forces stormed a detention centre in southern Russia, ending a hostage stand-off, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Sunday (AP)

Security forces stormed a detention centre in southern Russia on Sunday, killing inmates accused of links to Islamist terror cells who had taken two staff members hostage, state-funded news channel RT reported.

Journalists on the scene reported the sound of gunfire, while multiple ambulances were seen arriving at the prison in footage on social media.

The hostages at the pre-trial detention centre in Rostov-on-Don were uninjured, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said in an official statement.

Russia Prison Hostages
Russian police, Rosguardia servicemen and medical cars gather near the detention centre in Rostov-on-Don (AP)

It said the hostage-takers had been “liquidated”, but did not comment further.

A number of local news outlets, including RT, reported that at least some of the prisoners had been killed.

Earlier, state news agency Tass, citing unnamed sources in law enforcement, had said six hostage-takers were in the central courtyard of the Rostov region’s Detention Centre No 1, armed with a penknife, a rubber baton and a fire axe.

Prisoners at the centre include men accused of links to the Islamic State group, it said.

Images posted on social media appeared to show at least two of the hostage-takers wearing a headband that resembled the IS flag. Other images showed prisoners wielding knives.

Russia Prison Hostages
Reports said the hostage-takers were armed with a penknife, a rubber baton and a fire axe (AP)

RT reported that three of the hostage-takers had already been sentenced on terrorism charges, including disseminating extremist information and plotting to blow up a Russian courthouse.

IS has carried out a number of attacks on Russian soil in recent years.

An affiliate of IS claimed responsibility for the most recent attack in March, when gunmen opened fire on a crowd at a concert hall in suburban Moscow, killing 145 people.