Three held hostage in Milan bank

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The Independent Online
A man armed with a pistol and a hand grenade was holding three employees hostage at a Milan bank last night.

Police officials were negotiating with the man, who first demanded 10 billion lire (pounds 3.5m) in exchange for freeing the hostages, then lowered his demand to about 6 billion lire.

The man was holding the manager and two employees. A fourth employee, who was released after three hours, alerted police. The drama at a branch of Banca Popolare di Milano began just before closing time, and was still going on last night. No other customers were apparently in the bank when the hostage-taking began. The hostage-taker was identified by authorities as Domenico Gargano, 35, a Sicilian who lived near Milan and had a criminal record for theft and extortion. Apparently he became angered when turned down for a mortgage because of his criminal past. AP, Milan