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FBI releases photos of Alabama bunker, site of hostage standoff

FBI via Reuters

A pipe where negotiators communicated with Jimmy Lee Dykes who held a five-year old boy hostage in an underground bunker is shown in this handout photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on February 5. The nearly weeklong standoff ended with Dykes' death and the safe recovery of the kindergarten student.

FBI via Reuters

A tent covers the entrance to the underground bunker where the five-year-old boy, known as Ethan, was rescued by law enforcement after being held for nearly a week near Midland City, Alabama is shown in this handout photo release by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on February 5. FBI agents placed the blue tent over the bunker to protect evidence below.

The full story reports that FBI agents built a mock bunker nearby for practice before the operation:

The final rush to bring Ethan to safety began suddenly on Monday afternoon. Neighbor Byron Martin heard a boom that “made me jump off the ground.” Local paper the Dothan Eagle reported two loud blasts after 3 p.m. 

It seems the bang was the first – and most audible – sign to people in the area that Ethan’s ordeal was close to an end. An FBI source confirmed to NBC News on Monday that the blast was a “diversionary device” – a flashbang explosive that gave them time to breach the bunker through a door at the top at 3:12 p.m. The boy emerged unharmed, according to officials, but the man who authorities say abducted him was dead at the scene.

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