A man who had taken 10 Australians and a Chinese interpreter hostage in Xi’an in northwestern China was killed by a police sniper on Wednesday, ending a two-hour standoff on a tourist bus, AP reported. None of the hostages, who were travel agents on an educational tour, were harmed in the ordeal. After freeing nine of the hostages, the hijacker, who had explosives strapped to his chest, demanded a second vehicle to travel to the airport with a 48-year-old Australian woman and the interpreter. The man, who was identified as Xia Tao, a factory worker, drove the vehicle toward the airport but was stopped at a toll booth, where police opened fire, killing him. Though Xia’s motive is unclear, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said there was no particular reason to suspect that he was specifically targeting Australians.
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