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Gunmen take hostage in Belgium, no Islamist link seen

Belgian police cordoned off part of the city after the four men were seen entering the building in the Dampoort district, where they took a hostage.

“For the time being we have no indication that there is a link to terrorism,” a spokeswoman for state prosecutors said.

The incident occurred hours after Australian police locked down the center of Sydney after an armed man walked into a downtown cafe, took hostages and forced them to display an Islamic flag.

Belgian authorities had yet to establish contact with the Ghent hostage-takers, the spokeswoman said.

Television footage showed police blocking traffic at a cordoned off intersection while a helicopter hovered overhead and sirens blared in the background.

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