Turkish police have released seven workers taken hostage by a pro-Palestinian gunman at a plant near Istanbul owned by US consumer goods company Procter & Gamble in protest at the war in Gaza.
Local officials said police staged a raid nearly nine hours into the standoff when the lone gunman took a bathroom break.
Earlier, a man carrying a gun entered the Procter & Gamble factory in the Gebze industrial zone in Kocaeli province around 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) on Thursday, according to media reports.
A police spokesperson was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the assailant’s action was apparently in protest of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.  
A union representing workers at the consumer goods plant said the assailant was holding seven people hostage, adding that the rest of the plant’s workers had been released.
The Turkish Demiroren news agency reported that police rushed to the scene and tried to persuade him to stand down, with special operation forces and medical personnel also dispatched.
About 27,000 people have been killed in Gaza in Israel’s military operation since October 7, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry.
Distressed relatives of the hostages who had gathered at the cordoned-off facility broke into applause when informed by local officials about their loved ones’ release.
P&G Turkey employs 700 people at three sites in Istanbul and Kocaeli, according to the company’s website. It produces cleaning and hygiene brands such as Ariel washing powder and Oral-B toothpaste.
Public feeling against Israel and its main ally, the US, has risen in Turkey since the conflict began, with regular protests in support of the Palestinian people in major cities and calls for an immediate ceasefire.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been particularly outspoken, referring to Israeli “war crimes” and comparing the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to Adolf Hitler.
The US embassy in Ankara issued a warning in November about demonstrations “critical of US foreign policy” and calls for boycotts of US businesses. The advice followed protests and attacks on outlets such as McDonald’s and Starbucks over the Gaza conflict.

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