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Armenian riot police guard a police station taken over by gunmen - photo Vahan Stepanyan/AP
Armed gunmen in a standoff with police for the last ten days have taken four ambulance staff hostage in a police station in Yerevan, Armenia. The ambulance staff were sent in to treat the gunmen's wounds from a fight with police that happened the week before. 

On July 17, attackers raided a police post, had a shootout with police, and then barricaded themselves inside. One police officer was killed and many more were taken hostage. The attackers released the final police hostages over the weekend. 


On Wednesday, two doctors and two nurses were sent to the attackers to treat their injuries from the fight with police. The gunmen have now taken this medical staff hostage.

The attackers are acting in defiance to the arrest of political opposition leader Zhirair Sefilya and want him released. 

Sefilyan is the leader of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front. He and six of his supporters were arrested in June because the government accused them of planning to seize government buildings and other facilities in Yerevan.

Police are now negotiating with the assailants for the release of the hostages. 



Vocabulary

armed - with weapons (guns)
standoff - a situation where two opposing forces cannot reach an end or result to their conflict
ambulance - a large vehicle used to transport (drive) sick / injured people to a hospital
staff - the workers at a place of employment
to take hostage  - to take (kidnap) as a prisoner
to treat - to help medically
to raid - to attack
shootout - a gun fight
to barricade - to block / defend so no one can come inside
defiance - open disobedience

to release / released - to free / freed
political opposition - a political group that is against the ruling political group
to accuse - to say someone did something without showing proof (yet)
to seize - to take by force
hostages - people who have been kidnapped as security for the fulfillment of demands

assailants - attackers

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Armed gunmen in Yerevan, Armenia want the release of opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan - photo Vahan Stepanyan / Reuters