Hostages freed in Brazilian hotel, one killed

12:00, August 22, 2010      

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  A released hostage goes out of the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , Aug. 21, 2010. A group of criminals exchanged gunfire with police outside the Intercontinental Hotel , then rush into the hotel and hostage more than 10 workers there.All of the hostages have been released after the police took some action towards the criminals. (Xinhua/Song Weiwei)

  Dozens of hostages taken by armed gangsters at a hotel in Rio de Janeiro Saturday morning were freed, police said.

  The incident took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in the high-class Sao Conrado neighborhood of southern Rio de Janeiro, the website of local newspaper O Globo reported.

  Ten suspects were caught and police were still searching the area for other suspects. A female suspect was killed in the incident. Four other people were wounded.

  Witnesses said there were about 20 heavily-armed gangsters who stormed the hotel and took dozens of the hotel's staff as hostage after an intense exchange of gunfire with police in the area.

  According to the police, the suspects were from the Morro do Urubu shantytown on the city's north side, and were in route to the Rocinha shantytown on the south side.

  However, before they got to Rocinha, they were intercepted by police. The two sides started shooting at each other on the street, which resulted in the death of a woman who was getting out of a cab.

  Police said the woman was a member of the gang and there was an arrest warrant on her.

  A policeman was among the wounded and his condition was unknown.

  Although the police didn't reveal the exact number of the hostages, Chertuh Michel, the hotel's manager, told press there were 15 to 20 people briefly held by the gunmen.

  TV footages show the hotel building was completely sealed off by police and military helicopters were hovering around.

  At least eight rifles and five grenades were seized by police.

  Some 600 guests were at the Intercontinental Hotel at the time, including many participants of the Rio International Half-Marathon which will take place Sunday.

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