Hamburg police shoot man with axe ahead of Euros match

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A significant operation is underway in central Hamburg following an incident where a man wielding an axe threatened police officers, as reported by officials in the German city.

Authorities indicate that the man was shot and is currently receiving medical treatment.

Reports from media sources suggest that the incident occurred near a fanzone designated for supporters of the Dutch football team.

Later today, the Netherlands is scheduled to play against Poland in the Euro 2024 tournament in the same city.

According to initial police reports, the individual threatened officers with a pickaxe and what was described as an “incendiary device.”

Subsequently, a spokesperson for the Hamburg police informed the BBC that the suspect, armed with a pickaxe, attempted to ignite a petrol bomb. Police officers responded by using pepper spray and then resorting to gunfire.

The incident reportedly occurred around 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT).

Video footage circulated online shows the man brandishing the axe in front of law enforcement officers, followed by what sounds like gunshots.

The identity of the individual has not been disclosed by the authorities, nor have they commented on the potential motivations behind the incident.

Rory Smith, Chief Soccer Correspondent for The New York Times based in Hamburg, stated that the occurrence took place on the Reeperbahn, a central street and nightlife hub, situated just a short distance from the Dutch fanzone.

BBC Sport journalist Gary Rose, also present in Hamburg, mentioned that preparations for the match, which commences at 15:00 local time, are proceeding as scheduled. The stadium is approximately five miles away from the city center where the incident transpired.

Despite the occurrence, there seems to be a positive atmosphere ahead of the match, with an estimated 30,000 Dutch fans and a similar number of Polish fans in the city.