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Man arrested after armed siege shuts down part of shopping district in central London
LONDON (AP) ' Police say they've arrested the suspect at the center of a three-hour siege which shut down part a busy part of central London.
The capital's Metropolitan Police say the 49-year-old man is now in police custody and that searches of the building are ongoing.
One eyewitness claimed Friday that the man burst into the office of a training company saying he was ready to blow himself up.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
LONDON (AP) ' Heavily armed, masked police surrounded a site in central London on Friday after a woman reported that a mentally unstable man had walked into her office threatening to blow himself up.
Scotland Yard said in a statement that police were called to Tottenham Court Road, a busy central London avenue, just before noon and have sent a negotiator to the site. Office supplies, including computer monitors, were being thrown from the building's fifth-floor window.
The area was cordoned off, nearby buildings were evacuated and a police sniper was stationed on a rooftop near the building.
"It's unclear if other people (are) in the building," police said in a statement, adding they aren't treating the incident as terror-related.
The Huffington Post, whose offices are just off Tottenham Court Road, said its building was among those evacuated. It quoted one witness as saying that a man had walked into her office "strapped up in gasoline cylinders."
"Basically he threatened to blow up the office," Abby Baafi, 27, told the website. "He said he doesn't care about his life, he doesn't care about anything, he's going to blow up everybody."
Construction worker Martynas Vristiuk, 26, said he was out smoking a cigarette when a window above him was shattered and someone began throwing computer monitors into the street only 3 meters (yards) from where he was standing.
"He threw 10 computers," Vristiuk told The Associated Press, adding that one was tossed onto a police car.
Fellow worker Dennis Gorsanenko, 23, said he was at a construction site adjacent the building in question when a police officer ordered everyone out. "He said: 'There's a guy with a bomb on his belt.'"
Baafi, whom The Huffington Post identified as an employee of the training company Advantage, said she recognized the man as a former customer.
"He's not quite stable, not mentally stable," she said.
A phone message left with Advantage was not immediately returned.
Fergus Bell contributed to this report.