German police shoot man armed with axe ahead of Euro 2024 game in Hamburg

Incident happened close to the Dutch fan park ahead of the Netherlands-Poland game this afternoon

German police fired shots at an axe-wielding man during a Euros fan parade in Hamburg, the man is now receiving medical attention.

German police have confirmed a man who “threatened police with an axe and an incendiary device” in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg was shot and received medical attention.

Fans from the Netherlands and Poland have gathered in the city in large numbers ahead of their opening European Championships match at the Volksparkstadion.

The incident occurred near Silbersackstrasse, which is walking distance to the Dutch fan zone. Pepper spray was initially used to subdue the attacker, then a firearm, with police reporting that an armed officer fired a warning shot before several shots were fired, until the man fell to the ground, injured.

According to the police, the attacker was injured in the leg and was receiving medical care but his condition is not life-threatening, the spokesperson said.


“He apparently tried to set fire to this Molotov cocktail and then approached several people including police officers, and the police officers then had to make use of their firearms,” said Hamburg police spokesperson Sandra Levgruen.

There was no evidence that the man had any connection to the football tournament, she said, adding the motivation for his attack was not clear.

“We assume that this is an isolated case, that is, disconnected from football ... I don’t see any threat at all or any impact on the game today,” Ms Levgruen said.

Earlier, a post on X from Police Hamburg read: “There is currently a major police operation in #StPauli. According to initial findings, a person threatened police officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device. The officers then used their firearms. The attacker was injured and is currently receiving medical treatment.”

The police spokesman said there was no initial indication that the incident was related to the Netherlands-Poland match, which kicks off at 3pm local time.

German authorities have put police on high alert during the tournament, which began on Friday and runs through July 14th, for fear of possible fan violence and terrorist attacks.

On Friday, police shot dead an Afghan man after he fatally attacked a compatriot and later wounded three people watching the televised game between Germany and Scotland in a town in eastern Germany. Police said on Sunday the motive for that attack was still unclear.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent