Man arrested at Hamburg Airport after nearly 18-hour hostage standoff

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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 inside, authorities said. The man was arrested and the girl appears to be unharmed.

Hamburg police posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, that “the hostage situation is over. The suspect has left the car with his daughter. … The child appears to be unharmed.”

Police also said that “the man was arrested by the emergency services without resistance.”

The airport in the northern German city had been closed to passengers and flights canceled 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.

Authorities said the man’s wife had previously contacted them about a child abduction.

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 traveled to Turkey with his daughter without authorization, but the mother was later able to bring the child back to Germany.

Police did not 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 canceled and several planes were rerouted during the 18-hour hostage situation. Thousands of travelers 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 in the incident.

“The hostage-taking at Hamburg Airport is over after long, dramatic hours,” Tschentscher wrote on X, 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.

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