Hamburg Police Shoot Ax-Wielding Man Before Euro 2024 Match

BERLIN — German police reported that they shot and injured a man on Sunday who was threatening them with an ax and a Molotov cocktail in Hamburg. This incident took place hours before the city hosted a match in the European Championship soccer tournament.

Police officers opened fire after the man refused to drop the ax and a Molotov cocktail, striking him in the leg, according to police spokesperson Thilo Marxsen. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, Marxsen said. No other injuries were reported.

The incident occurred in the St. Pauli district of the northern port city, which was bustling with fans in anticipation of Sunday’s Group D match between the Netherlands and Poland. Marxsen stated that there was no initial indication that the incident was related to the Euro 2024 game.

German authorities have heightened police presence during the tournament, which commenced on Friday and runs through July 14, out of concern for potential fan violence and extremist attacks.

On Friday, police fatally shot an Afghan man after he killed a fellow Afghan and subsequently wounded three individuals watching the televised game between Germany and Scotland in a town in eastern Germany. Police stated on Sunday that the motive for that attack remained unclear.