Drunk holds March of Living teens captive

Intoxicated Arab man briefly holds 3 Brazillian 'March of the Living' participants captive in hotel room.

March of Living 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
March of Living 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A 23-year-old heavily intoxicated Arab man from Kuwait who claimed he had a bomb briefly held three Jewish teenagers captive in their Polish hotel room on Monday, police and officials said. The three Brazilian teens, who were in Poland for the annual March of the Living Holocaust commemoration ceremonies, were accosted by the drunken man in their room at central Warsaw's Holiday Inn as they were getting ready to leave the hotel, said Aharon Tamir, deputy chairman of the March of the Living. Police forces, who were urgentlysummoned to the scene by hotel security, stormed the room and released the captives unharmed, Tamir said. No explosives were found in the hotel, which was briefly evacuated during the late-morning incident. "We are very happy that the incident ended peacefully," Tamir said in a telephone interview from Warsaw. The assailant, who was identified as Muhammad A, was taken into police custody. He was said to be so drunk that he could not respond to interrogators for hours. According to an unconfirmed report, the intoxicated man, who had a beer in the bar in the morning, was a guest at the hotel and had entered the teens' room by accident. Although no Israelis were involved in the incident, security was briefly heightened for a separate group of 450 Israeli high school students currently in Poland, an Education Ministry spokeswoman said. Around 10,000 people from around the world, mostly Jewish, took part in the 20th March of the Living on Thursday, an annual event at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau that honors the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. More than 5,000 Jewish youth from around the world - including the three Brazilians involved in the hotel incident - were flying to Israel on Monday to take part in Remembrance and Independence Day events this week in Israel. In accordance with Israeli law, Israeli youth visits to Poland are heavily guarded, with security guards traveling with the groups throughout the usually peaceful country. AP contributed to this report.