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Gunmen seize police HQs in Armenia, take hostages

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An unverified photo purportedly shows Armenian security forces taking positions during a hostage standoff at the police headquarters in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, July 17, 2016.

Unknown gunmen have reportedly seized a police headquarters in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, taking an unknown number of people hostage.

While news media have branded the development as an “attempted coup,” the National Security Service of Armenia has released a statement, rejecting the reports as rumors and saying the  country's military is not involved.

An attempted coup has been largely crushed in Armenia’s neighbor Turkey.

Negotiations were underway to resolve the situation peacefully, the security service said.

Armenian news agencies reported that the armed men were demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition leader and former military commander, who was arrested in June.

Sefilian has strongly criticized Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and is unhappy about the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Some reports also said that the armed men were demanding that President Sargsyan quit.

Unconfirmed reports also say an unknown number of policemen as well as hostage takers have been wounded.

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