Tense standoff in Greece over prison hostages

Associated Press
This photo taken by an unnamed prisoner with a cellphone shows hostages, both prison officers and prisoners, being held by Albanian convict Alket Rizaj  at Malandrino prison, in central Greece, on Saturday, March 16, 2013. Rizaj is demanding to be allowed to leave the prison, claiming to be heavily armed.  Police special forces have deployed outside the prison, while prison officers, Rizaj's lawyer, and a prosecutor try to negotiate with him. (AP Photo)

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities say police are lobbing chemicals inside a central prison, trying to smoke out a convicted murderer who is holding five hostages.

Alket Rizaj, an Albanian who has escaped from prison twice already, has been locked in tense negotiations with police for nearly 18 hours. Authorities say he is demanding a getaway car.

Officials in Greece's justice ministry also said Sunday that Rizaj is holding five hostages at the central Malandrino prison, with another having either escaped or been released. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

They also said Rizaj claims to have explosives, guns and a grenade.


Associated Press writer Demetris Nellas contributed to this report.

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