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Police shoot axe-wielding man in Hamburg ahead of Euro 2024 football match

The incident triggered a “major operation” in the city’s St Pauli district, police said on X, formerly Twitter.

However, police said there was no indication of a link to the Euro 2024 clash.

Moments after a man carrying an axe was shot down by police in the St Pauli district of Hamburg, Germany on Sunday. Photo: Nonstopnews via Reuters

The man came out of a snack bar holding the weapons and approached passers-by and police at the scene “in a threatening manner”, the police said.

When he did not comply with a request to put them down, police shot at him.

A police spokesman told Agence France-Presse he was shot in the leg.

He was treated by first-aiders at the scene and then taken to hospital.

The suspect has been identified as a 39-year-old German man, the police said, adding that his motive was not known.

Police said earlier on X, formerly Twitter, that the incident had triggered a “major operation” in the city’s St Pauli district.

It happened near the Reeperbahn station, more than a kilometre away from the city’s official Euro 2024 fan zone.

Police officers at a scene that may be connected to a fatal attack in Wolmirstedt, Germany. Photo: dpa

The Hamburg attack was not the only violent incident in the country over the weekend. Police said on Saturday they shot to death an Afghan man after he fatally attacked a compatriot and later wounded three people watching the televised opening game of the Euro 2024 in eastern Germany.

The 27-year-old Afghan citizen first attacked a 23-year-old compatriot with a “knifelike object” in Wolmirstedt, a small town about 130km (80 miles) west of Berlin, on Friday evening, police said. The victim later died of his wounds.

The man later attacked a group of people watching the football match between Germany and Scotland in the garden of a private house, injuring three German men, two of them seriously, police said.

Police said the assailant, still armed with the same object, also attacked police officers called to the scene. Two of the officers shot and wounded the man, who died soon after in a hospital.

Police said the motive for the attacks was unclear. The Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt state, which includes Wolmirstedt, said police had increased their presence across the state. The Euro 2024 football tournament is taking place in cities across Germany and runs until July 14.

Riot police in downtown Gelsenkirchen, Germany ahead of the Euro 2024 match between Serbia and England on Sunday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Meanwhile on Sunday, seven Serbia fans were taken into custody after scuffles broke out in the German city of Gelsenkirchen ahead of the team’s Euro 2024 match against England, police said.

A complaint for dangerous bodily harm was filed against one of the fans, a police spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

Details of what happened and of any injuries were still unclear, the spokesman said.

Police earlier reported having to separate England and Serbia fans after clashes between the two sets of supporters.

However, the spokesman said no England fans had been taken into custody.

The German Bild daily newspaper published images showing an altercation on the terrace of a restaurant, with chairs being thrown around.

Several people were injured and a group of England supporters were arrested in a nearby pub, the report said, without giving numbers.

An England supporter holds a reduced-strength beer in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Sunday. Photo: AFP

An Agence France-Presse journalist saw broken glass on the restaurant terrace and witnessed a group of Serbian fans about to be escorted out of the area to an underground station by police.

Videos on social media show trouble brewing on a side street, with tables, chairs and bottles thrown before riot police arrived.

Some people were injured, with former England striker Stan Collymore posting a picture on X of a man covered in blood, accompanied by the message: “Police vans en masse in Gelsenkirchen centre now. Kicking off in tiny groups.”

In a statement to the PA news agency, a Gelsenkirchen police spokesman said: “We can confirm that there was a physical altercation between several people in the south of the city of Gelsenkirchen.

“The police are on site with sufficient personnel and have the situation under control. We cannot confirm at this point whether the altercation was football related or which nationalities were involved.”

Germany has deployed a large police presence to Gelsenkirchen for the match between England and Serbia, which kicks off at 9pm local time.

Serbia fans inside the stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany before the match against England on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Supporters at the match will also only be able to purchase reduced-strength beer, police said on Friday.

A 2.5-per cent “light beer” will be served in the stadium, with fans limited to two drinks at a time, a spokeswoman for police in the German city said.

The decision for Sunday’s match had been taken for “security reasons”, the spokeswoman said.

There have also been further reports and videos circulating of England supporters singing 10 German Bombers – a children’s song adopted by English football fans – defying warnings from German police.

England fans infamously clashed with supporters from Russia ahead of their match in Marseille, France, at Euro 2016, which saw running battles between hooligans.

Additional reporting by Associated Press, dpa

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