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Turkey: Attacker detained after taking hostages at P&G plant

February 1, 2024

Staff members at a Procter & Gamble factory in Turkey were taken hostage, but have since been rescued unharmed, Turkish media have reported.

Police officers stand guard near a Procter & Gamble factory in Gebze in the northwestern Kocaeli province of Turkey
Police cordoned off the area around the Procter & Gamble factoryImage: Dilara SenkayaREUTERS

Police detained an armed man who earlier on Thursday took staff hostage at a Procter & Gamble factory in northwestern Turkey.

The seven hostages were taken as an apparent protest against Israel's military campaign in Gaza, according to the local governor's office.

The office in Kocaeli province said the hostages had not been harmed during their ordeal.

"Our security forces intervened and neutralized the suspect," the governor's office statement said, adding that he was an employee of the factory who "wanted to draw attention to the ongoing occupation in Gaza."

What happened?

Earlier, a man carrying a gun entered the Procter & Gamble factory in the Gebze industrial zone in Kocaeli province around 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) on Thursday, according to media reports.

A police spokesperson was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the assailant's action was apparently in protest of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.  

A union representing workers at the consumer goods plant said the assailant was holding seven people hostage, adding that the rest of the plant's workers had been released.

The Turkish Demiroren news agency reported that police rushed to the scene and tried to persuade him to stand down, with special operation forces and medical personnel also dispatched.

Images from the scene showed police setting up a cordon around the sprawling plant, which primarily manufactures cosmetics.

Images circulated online appeared to show a man holding a weapon next to a drawing of the Palestinian flag and the words "for Gaza" painted on the wall in red.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as a harsh critic of Israel for the civilian toll of its campaign against Hamas militants. He's frequently accused Israel of "genocide" and referred to Hamas as "freedom figthers." 

mf/sms (Reuters, AFP)