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HomeNewsHostage drama closes Hamburg airport, flights suspended – DW – 11/05/2023

Hostage drama closes Hamburg airport, flights suspended – DW – 11/05/2023

German authorities were negotiating with a man who used his car to break into the secure area of the Hamburg airport, prompting an hourslong standoff. While details remain scarce, the suspect is believed to have his young daughter in the car with him and is keeping the child hostage.

“The operation continues,”  police wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday morning. “Our negotiation team is in contact with the person in the car.”

Police have urged passengers and other members of the public to stay away from the airport.

“Air traffic is suspended until further notice” and approaches to the airport have been blocked, according to airport officials.

Negotiations in Turkish

The authorities believe the suspect is engaged in a “custody dispute.” On Saturday, his wife contacted the police over a possible child kidnapping. Some time later, the man drove through a closed gate at the Hamburg airport, firing two shots in the air and throwing “some sort of Molotov cocktails,” according to the police.

His car came to a stop under a Turkish Airlines plane.

Special police units at Hamburg airport
Police have deployed large number of units to the sceneImage: Jonas Walzberg/dpa/picture alliance

A police spokeswoman later told the DPA news agency that the negotiations are conducted in Turkish. However, it was not immediately clear if the man was a Turkish national or a member of Germany’s sizable Turkish community. Police believe he is 35 years old.

The incident prompted a large police deployment, with SWAT teams also on the scene.

Scores of flights canceled

The Turkish Airlines plane, along with several others, has been evacuated. Authorities also cleared airport terminal buildings. Some 3,200 passengers were affected and over 60 flights were canceled as of Sunday morning.

The police said the hostage situation was “static.”

Previously, the police spokeswoman told DPA that authorities were trying to negotiate a solution, and said it was “absolutely a good sign” that negotiations were taking a long time.

“He wants to talk to us,” she told the agency.

dj/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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