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ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ A gunman armed with an assault rifle entered a five-star hotel in the center of Istanbul Saturday, fired shots in the air and took several tourists hostage, media reports said.

Police surrounded the hotel. There were no immediate details on the identity of the gunman.

Private NTV television said the gunman at the Marmara Hotel was bearded and appeared to be in his mid-20s. It said most of the tourists taken hostage were Greek.

In April 2001, pro-Chechen gunmen took 120 people hostage at another luxury Istanbul hotel, the Swissotel. They later released the hostages unharmed.