An armed convict, free on a day pass to see his children, held their babysitter and her daughter hostage in a downtown apartment Thursday, continuing a tense standoff with police that began the previous night.
Police deployed snipers and cordoned off a wide area around Brussels' central railway station, saying the man was armed with a handgun and a grenade.
The incident began Wednesday around 7 p.m. (1700GMT) in an apartment above a bar, said police spokesman Wim De Troy.
Almost 24 hours later, police were still locked in a standoff with the hostage-taker and imposed a news blackout.
"It began with four hostages," De Troy told reporters earlier.
They were the hostage-taker's "two daughters, aged 9 and 2, the childminder and her daughter. After intense negotiations the children were freed (late Wednesday) night," he added.
He said hostage-taker Farid Bamouhammad, 36, is upset at care arrangements for his children while he serves time for a series of violent offenses, including a 2000 hostage-taking in a suburban hamburger restaurant that also involved his oldest daughter, reports The AP.
Marianna Budanov, the wife of the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov, was poisoned. it was said that the woman was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning