Four masked gunmen killed a 3-year-old Canadian boy during a hostage standoff at an international school in Cambodia Thursday before police raided the building, freeing the dozens of remaining students and arresting the attackers, the government and police said.
The men stormed Siem Reap International School earlier Thursday, seizing dozens of young children from several countries - also including Australia, Japan and Italy - and demanding money, weapons and a vehicle before police ended the standoff, with witnesses reporting several shots fired.
The gunmen killed the boy when authorities declined to meet all of their demands, and police then raided the building, Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said, quoting the deputy national police chief, Neth Savoeun.
"They also threatened to kill the children one by one. Then our forces decided to storm the school," Khieu Kanharith said.
The victim was a 3-year-old Canadian boy, Khieu Kanharith said, although that could not be immediately confirmed by Canadian Embassy officials.
"Four hostage-takers have been arrested. There are only four of them," Deputy Military Police Commander Prak Chanthoeum said after the hostage crisis was over.
Police earlier had said there were six attackers. Their motives were not immediately clear.
The crisis unfolded at Cambodia's tourism hub of Siem Reap, near its famed Angkor temples and home to many expatriates, and quickly drew concern from governments around the region amid reports of up to 15 nationalities among the hostages.