Reactions to the drama

"I was sitting there and they came up to me and said: 'They're going to free us in a few minutes. Stay calm'. So I thought it was a joke, because we made lots of black jokes."

Jesuit priest Juan Luis Wicht, who turned down a chance for freedom with 225 hostages released in December.

"We were so absorbed in ending the game, so into it, that we only realised what was going on when it was obvious [the troops] were coming in."

Luis Chang Ching, a Peruvian congressman, who was playing chess with Father Wicht when the rescue bid began.

"Everything that has happened seems unreal to me. But I am proud of my son as he has died giving his blood, his life for his comrades."

The mother of rebel leader Nestor Cerpa, who died during the rescue

"I thought for sure he would be one of the dead, especially when all those bombs went off ... He looked scared, but he appeared happy to be alive and free. Everyone was crying."

Fernando Bobbio, 60, the brother of General Guillermo Bobbio Zevallos, who spotted his brother as he watched TV at home in New York.

"It was amazing to stage a raid like that in the middle of the day ... The Japanese do things much differently."

Haruhiko Nakaji, a Tokyo businessman

"Everything went fine. Everybody is applauding. If things had gone badly they would have called him irresponsible."

Argentine President Carlos Menem

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