A four-year-old girl is being held in a “hostage situation” at Hamburg airport after a suspected gunman drove a car through a barrier onto the runway, police say.
The airport remains closed as police continue to deal with the situation, which prompted the evacuation of 3,200 passengers and staff on Saturday night. The incident is said to have been triggered by a custody dispute.
The car with the 35-year-old man and 4-year-old girl was parked under a Turkish Airlines plane, a police spokesperson said. Negotiators are in contact with the suspected gunman and communicating through a translator in Turkish.
In its latest update, Hamburg Police said: “Our negotiating group remains in contact with the suspect.
“We currently have to assume that he is in possession of a live firearm and possibly also explosive devices of an unknown type. Our top priority is protecting the child.
“According to our current findings, the child is doing well physically. Negotiations will continue.”
The event occurred around 8pm local time, police said.
The man is said to have set several fires in the airport area, according to German outlet Bild. He threw two burning bottles out of the car, “a kind of Molotov cocktails,” Thomas Gerbert, spokesman for the federal police was quoted as saying.
But police would later not confirm their earlier statements that the man had fired shots.
The police said separately on social media platform X that they were conducting a large operation and were assuming a “static hostage situation”.
“We are on site with a large contingent of emergency services. We are currently assuming a static hostage situation,” Hamburg police wrote on X.
“Due to a police measure on the apron of Hamburg Airport, there will be no take-offs and landings today, November 4. All affected passengers should contact the airline directly,” the airport said on its website.
The suspect’s wife is reported to have alleged a possible child abduction.
A spokesperson for the airport said 27 flights had been affected.
Hamburg Airport wrote early Sunday morning on X that cancellations and delays are to be expected for the whole day.
Local media said that throughout the night, the police negotiated with the man. He has his four-year-old daughter in the car and allegedly wants to travel with her by plane to Turkey.