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Turkey Hostage Crisis: Prosecutor Reportedly Held at Gunpoint is Dead

An outlawed revolutionary group took a Turkish prosecutor hostage and said they would kill him at 3:30 p.m. local times, according to reports.
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/ Source: NBC News

ISTANBUL, Turkey — A Turkish prosecutor reportedly held hostage at gunpoint by members of an outlawed revolutionary group in Istanbul is dead, officials said.

The announcement by the Florence Nightingale Hospital Directory and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu appeared to declare a grim end to a hostage standoff that began at the courthouse Tuesday, according to local media reports.

The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) said it would kill the prosecutor at 3:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. ET) if five demands weren't met. However, that deadline passed as the standoff continued.

The officials did not say how the prosecutor died. The announcement was made at around 11:10 p.m. local time, or 4:10 p.m. ET.

Reuters reported that the prosecutor died from his wounds after security forces stormed the courthouse office and killed two of the captors.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Mehmet Selim Kiraz had been shot three times in the head and twice in the body, Reuters reported. He died despite being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

Police chief Selami Altinok said authorities had established lines of communications with the hostage-takers, but had been forced to act when shots were heard from inside the room where Kiraz was being held., Reuters reported.

Images posted to Twitter appeared to show the assailants holding a gun to the captive’s head. NBC News could not independently confirm whether pictures on Twitter of what appeared to be the unfolding hostage crisis were genuine.

Local media reported the prosecutor was leading an investigation into the death of a teen who was injured during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.

The far-left group DHKP-C, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2013, issued a series of demands on its website. The U.S., European Union and Turkey list the DHKP-C as a terrorist organization.

Erdogan told reporters at the scene that the two assailants entered the courthouse disguised as lawyers.

"We cannot underestimate the seriousness of this incident," he said, noting that security at courthouses would be reviewed, according to Reuters.

— Aziz Akyavas and F. Brinley Bruton

F. Brinley Bruton reported from London. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.