Dutch hostage drama over, suspect held by police

A hostage drama in the Netherlands that lasted several hours ended without bloodshed on Saturday as all four hostages were freed and police took the suspect into custody.

Authorities said there was no reason to suspect a "terrorist motive" for the ordeal, which took place at a night spot popular with young people in the central Dutch town of Ede.

Police said they received reports of a potential hostage situation at 5:15am (0415 GMT) at the Cafe Petticoat, with local media saying a "confused" man burst in as staff were clearing up after a party.

The man was armed with "several knives" that he showed to the hostages, prosecutor Marthyne Kunst told reporters at a news conference in the town hall.

Police are also investigating a black backpack he was carrying with him, amid reports that the hostage-taker had threatened to use explosives.

Authorities later confirmed there were in fact no explosives in the backpack.

Police spokesman Anne Jan Oosterheert said officers were on the scene within minutes, immediately opening negotiations with the man.

"Luckily that all went well," he said, declining to offer details of the negotiations.

The suspect is known to the police and has a previous conviction for threatening behaviour. Investigations are under way as to his motive and psychological state, Kunst said.

"I wish everyone affected a great deal of strength to deal with these intense and dramatic events," he added.

'Terrible situation'

The incident sparked a major deployment including riot police and explosives experts.

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