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Police continue negotiations with armed persons in Yerevan — general

July 17, 16:16 UTC+3 YEREVAN
"If our calls are not heard, we are able to neutralize" the attackers, the police Lieutenant-General Unan Pogosyan said
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© Aram Kirakosyan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, July 17. /TASS/. Law-enforcers are continuing negotiations with armed persons who have taken policemen hostage in Yerevan, Armenian Police First Deputy Chief, Lieutenant-General Unan Pogosyan said on Sunday.

"Negotiations are under way. The police and law-enforcers urged from the first second and continue urging them [the attackers] to give up their criminal intentions and surrender to the authorities," Pogosyan said.

According to the general, "a group of persons armed with automatic rifles and pistols attacked a regiment of the patrol and inspection police in Yerevan."

As a result of the attack, Police Colonel Artur Vanoyan was killed while Lieutenant-Colonel Grach Khostegyan and Police Warrant Officer Gagik Mkrtchyan were wounded, the general said.

"The police and the entire law-enforcement system have the forces and means to take necessary preventive, search and operational measures," he added.

"If our calls are not heard, we are able to neutralize" the attackers, the police general said.

"We have not yet lost the hope to resolve the situation through negotiations" and "we’ll continue the negotiations" as long as it is possible, the general added.

The attackers who are holding seven policemen hostage are demanding that the authorities release Zhirair Sefilyan who was arrested earlier.

There are, "of course, no possibilities" for his release, the general said.

About 30 radical opposition supporters rammed aboard a truck into the gates of a police regiment in Yerevan on Sunday morning, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene, citing local police.

Attack on police regiment and attackers’ demands

According to local police, about 30 radical opposition supporters riding a Kraz truck rammed into the gates of the Armenian patrol and inspection police regiment in Yerevan at about 05:00 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT) on Sunday and burst into the regiment’s territory.

As a result of the shootout, there are persons injured from both sides.

The armed persons took hostage both the patrol and inspection police personnel and police officials who had arrived at the scene for negotiations.

According to some data, the attackers are holding hostage Armenian Police Deputy Chief Major-General Vartan Yegiazaryan.

The insurgents are demanding that the authorities should release Sefilyan who was arrested in June on suspicion of organizing an armed group that had been preparing the seizure the Yerevan TV Center and other important facilities.

Police block approaches to scene of attack

Considerable police forces and interior troops have been brought to the scene of the attack. Armored vehicles and military trucks have blocked the approaches to the patrol and inspection police regiment. Both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic has been blocked. There are disruptions with the work of the Internet.

Residents of nearby residential buildings are saying that there were woken up at the dawn from a series of powerful explosions and gunshots. Now snipers have assumed their positions on the roofs of these buildings.

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