Amsterdam incident: Hostage held at gunpoint inside Apple Store as ‘shots fired’
Multiple witnesses have told local media outlets that they heard shots fired in the busy Leidseplein area.
Social media footage shown on local news sites shows a hooded man inside the store holding what appears to be a gun to another person’s head.
Amsterdam Police have confirmed there is a hostage situation taking place inside the store, with the perpetrator in possession of a firearm.
“Police are on site with many specialist units to get the situation under control,” the force said, shortly after confirming that an operation was underway just after 6pm local time (5pm GMT)..
A police helicopter was also filmed hovering above the area, which has been cordoned off.
Local residents and those nearby have been urged to stay indoors and to exercise restraint in publishing further footage and images from the scene.
The popular square is ringed by bars and restaurants and is close to one of the city’s main shopping streets.
“I had to run for my life,” a witness told local news channel AT5, which has a reporter at Leidseplein.
“I was standing on the zebra crossing opposite the apple store. An employee walked out in panic with a walkie-talkie yelling: ‘Robbery.’
“At that moment the penny hadn’t dropped yet and I was about to cross the zebra crossing opposite the entrance to the Apple store. And that’s when I heard gunshots inside.”
The Netherlands’ largest city saw a spate of four armed robberies of mobile phone stores in 2021, prompting some stores to remove most of their phone supplies, which were being targeted. However, none of the robberies had been in the city centre.
Gun violence is not uncommon in the Netherlands, but hostage takings are extremely rare.
In 2015 a man with a gun broke into a TV studio demanding screen time. No one was injured and the man was later convicted of hostage taking.