German police shoot ax-wielding man with 'incendiary device' threatening fans near Euro 2024 soccer match

Hamburg, Germany, police opened fire on an ax-wielding man with an incendiary device hours before the Poland-Netherlands Euro 2024 soccer match.

German police shoot ax-wielding man with 'incendiary device' threatening fans near Euro 2024 soccer match

Police in Germany said officers opened fire on an ax-wielding suspect who put fans in jeopardy near a Euro 2024 fan parade in the city of Hamburg Sunday. 

Hamburg Police said an unidentified person threatened officers "with a pickaxe and an incendiary device" in the St. Pauli district. 

The incident reportedly happened on the sidelines of a Euro 2024 soccer fan parade, which was unfolding hours before Poland and the Netherlands were scheduled to play in the city’s stadium, Volksparkstadion.

Officers deployed their guns, and the attacker was injured and received medical attention, police said on X. 

The department afterward announced a "major police operation" underway, adding the event at Heiligengeistfeld "is subject to various security checks and is well protected." 

"We are currently assuming that there was a lone perpetrator," police added. 

The incident happened around the same time as the Dutch fan parade. Nearly 40,000 soccer fans were marching through the entertainment district, according to German state broadcaster DW. 

The suspect reportedly walked out of a bar and began waving an ax in a "threatening manner." Officers opened fire after the man refused to lay down the ax, hitting him in the leg, German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported, citing Hamburg Police. German media published images of a person lying in the street surrounded by paramedics and police officers.

"According to current knowledge, there is no football connection," a police spokesman told the outlet. The motive was not immediately announced. 

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

On Friday, police shot to death a 27-year-old Afghan national after he fatally attacked a 23-year-old compatriot with a "knife-like object" and later wounded three people watching the televised game between Germany and Scotland in Wolmirstedt, a small town about 80 miles west of Berlin. 

Police said Sunday the motive for that attack was still unclear. 

The Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt state, which includes Wolmirstedt, said police had increased their presence across the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.