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Man dies after firing shots in Estonian defence ministry

A hostage drama at Estonia's Defence Ministry building in Tallinn on Thursday ended when a man was detained by police before turning a gun on himself, a ministry spokesman said.

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AP - A gunman opened fire in Estonia's Defense Ministry and tried to take hostages on Thursday, but he died when police stormed the building, officials said.

An official at the country's Security Police would not say how the shooter died, but a spokesman for the northern district prosecutor's office, Maria-Elisa Tuulik, said he apparently was shot and killed by the police.

The attacker entered the ministry in downtown Tallinn at midday, threw a smoke bomb, fired shots and tried to kidnap two employees, but police quickly evacuated the building and officers wearing bulletproof gear entered it, officials said.

Defense Minister Mart Laar was not there at the time, ministry spokesman Hannes Kont told The Associated Press.

Police would not identify the shooter, but Estonian media, citing unidentified ministry officials, said he was a former soldier.

The attack shocked the tiny, serene Baltic nation of 1.3 million people that joined the NATO alliance in 2004.

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