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Hamburg Airport hostage situation ends safely

BERLIN (AP) – The hostage situation at Hamburg Airport ended Sunday afternoon, around 18 hours after a man drove his vehicle through the gates of the airport with his 4-year-old daughter as a passenger, authorities said. The man was arrested and the girl is safe.

Hamburg police said that man had left the car with his daughter, who didn’t appear to be harmed, and he was “arrested by the emergency services without resistance.” Authorities said the man’s ex-wife had previously contacted them about a child abduction.

The airport in the northern German city had been closed to passengers and flights were cancelled since Saturday night when the man, who was armed, broke through an airport gate with his vehicle and fired twice into the air with a weapon, according to German news agency dpa. The man drove the vehicle just outside a terminal building and parked it under a plane.

Police said the 35-year-old man, a Turkish citizen, had his daughter inside the car after reportedly taking her by force from the mother in an ongoing custody battle.

A psychologist had been negotiating with the man for several hours. Nobody was injured during the standoff after all passengers had evacuated the airport, police said.

The mother of the girl also arrived at the airport earlier on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, police released details about the hostage taker’s identity saying he was a Turkish citizen who was already under investigation for allegedly kidnapping his daughter in March 2022, dpa reported.

At that time, he had travelled to Turkey with his daughter without authorization, but the mother was later able to bring the child back to Germany.

Police didn’t give the suspect’s name in line with German privacy rules.

Local media reported that the man, who parked his car next to a Turkish Airlines plane during the standoff, had demanded that he and his daughter could leave Germany and fly to Turkey.

More than 100 flights were cancelled and several planes were rerouted during the hostage situation. Thousands of travellers had been affected by the standoff and hundreds were put up at hotels close by.

Flight operations at the airport resumed on Sunday night, almost 24 hours after the hostage situation began.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher expressed relief that nobody was injured.

“The hostage-taking at Hamburg Airport is over after long, dramatic hours,” Tschentscher said, thanking police for their efforts.

“I wish the mother, the child and her family a lot of strength to cope with these terrible experiences,” he added.

A man is led away by the police at the airport in Hamburg, Germany, Sunday. PHOTO: AP
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