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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
 
 
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Jacques Hamel was conducting morning mass when two attackers stormed his church and slit his throat - photo AFP
Two armed men stormed into a church in southern France this morning and killed a priest and took four people hostage. Police eventually surrounded the church and shot both attackers dead. 

The two men, who said they were of the Islamic State (IS), burst into the church in Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray while a priest was conducting mass, 
made him kneel, and then slit his throat. 

The priest, Jacques Hamel, was 84-years old and has been described as 'an extraordinary person' by members of the community. 


Witnesses say the attackers recorded themselves and conducted a sermon in Arabic after they killed Hamel.


Some hours following the assault, the IS-related Amaq news agency reported that 'IS-soldiers' were responsible for the attack. 


This follows a recent string of Islamic State-related public onslaughts and massacres throughout France, Germany, and Europe that appear to be happening on a regular basis. 


Vocabulary
armed - having weapons
to storm - to suddenly enter
to take hostage  - to take (kidnap) as a prisoner

to burst into - to suddenly enter
to conduct - to do something (formally)
to kneel - to go down on one's knees
to slit - to make a long narrow cut
extraordinary - very special
a sermon - a religious talk done by a leader / presenter
a recent string - a current course of related events

onslaught - a terrible attack
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French special forces raid the church and shot the attackers dead - photo REUTERS