Hostage Situation in Norway

A man believed to be armed with a shotgun took about twenty five children and ten staff members hostage at a Norwegian nursery school today, but later released most of the hostages and demanded to speak to a lawyer, police said. By this afternoon, the man was still holding five children and two adults at the school in Hjelmeland, a town of about 2,500 people some 185 miles west of the capital, Oslo.

Police surrounded the fenced-in building and a lawyer was on his way to the scene, authorities said. Police held back worried parents who had rushed to the school. Authorities were negotiating with the man, but did not say whether the man had made any specific demands.

Norway's largest newspaper, Verdens Gang, reported on its Web site that the man was believed to be the father of one of the preschool children. Other reports said he was interested in a female staff member who he was holding alone in a room.