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Netherlands: Nightclub hostage drama ends after suspect is arrested and blindfolded by police

A hostage drama at a Dutch nightclub has ended after a suspect was arrested outside the venue.

Four people had been taken hostage in the town of Ede by a man who police said was armed with knives.

Following the hours-long stand-off, the suspect in a balaclava walked out of the Cafe Petticoat with his hands in the air before being ordered by armed police to kneel.

He was then handcuffed, blindfolded and led into a waiting police car.

The suspect's rucksack is being examined to establish if it contained explosives.

Three hostages, believed to be employees of the nightclub, were seen fleeing the building with their hands above their heads about an hour before the man was detained.

A fourth person was released shortly before the arrest.

In a news conference after the stand-off concluded, authorities confirmed a man had been arrested and was being questioned, adding he was a Dutch citizen and known to the police.

They also said the hostages were safe but "very emotional".

Earlier, heavily armed officers cordoned off part of Ede and urged people to "stay away" from the area, adding: "Stay inside and don't come and watch."

Around 150 nearby homes were evacuated while authorities dealt with "a hostage situation involving several people," police said.

National newspaper de Telegraaf reported the man allegedly entered the nightclub at closing time and "threatened to blow the place up".

There was no indication the hostage situation was terror-related, according to police.

Images from the rural market town in the eastern Netherlands, which is 53 miles (85km) from Amsterdam, showed police officers and firefighters on the streets in the cordoned-off area.

The municipality said all shops in the centre of Ede would remain closed.

Before the man was detained, the town's mayor Rene Verhulst said in a statement: "Three hostages have just been released, but the situation is still ongoing. A terrible situation for all these people.

"My concern and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones."