London police arrest possible suicide attacker
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Armed police officers prepare for an operation after a man reportedly armed with gas canisters entered a vehicle licence office in London Friday, April, 27, 2012. AP photoPolice arrested a man who witnesses said had threatened to blow himself up in an office building in central London, forcing a busy shopping street to be sealed off in a three-hour standoff on Friday.
"We have arrested a man at Tottenham Court Road. A search of the building is under way," the Metropolitan Police said.
Witnesses had reported the man had taken four men hostage, but police said they were "not aware of any hostages at this stage" although officers were searching the building.
Police vehicles had cordoned off a 150-metre (500-feet) stretch of the road after the man entered a building reportedly with gas canisters strapped to his body and started throwing computer screens from a window on the fifth floor.
A police negotiator was at the scene while armed officers patrolled.
The incident, which started at 1100 GMT, was not terrorism-related, police said.
The Huffington Post website, whose offices are nearby, reported that the man had stormed into the offices of a company which offers courses on driving trucks. The website carried a video interview with an employee of the company, Abby Baafi, 27, who said the man had targeted her company's offices.
"He just turned up, strapped up in... gasoline cylinders. Basically he threatened to blow up the offices. Says he doesn't care about his life, doesn't care about anything," she said in the video.
"He was specifically looking for me but I said 'My name's not Abby' and he let me go."