TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — An armed assailant took several people hostage at a bank in the ex-Soviet nation of Georgia on Wednesday, authorities said.
The Georgian Interior Ministry didn't immediately say how many people have been taken hostage in the town of Zugdidi in western Georgia, or what demands the assailant has made. Police sealed off the area and launched an operation "to neutralize the assailant," the ministry said in a statement.
Georgia's national Mtavari TV channel reported that the hostage-taker was armed with a hand grenade and was demanding $500,000 in cash.
Mtavari TV spoke to one of the hostages, who said that the perpetrator was holding 19 people inside the bank, and showed footage of a room with people sitting on the floor and a man dressed in a military uniform covering his face and holding a rifle.