German airport hostage-taker gives himself up

Published November 6, 2023
Passengers wait at the reopened terminal of Hamburg Airport following a security incident, in Hamburg, Germany, November 5. — Reuters
Passengers wait at the reopened terminal of Hamburg Airport following a security incident, in Hamburg, Germany, November 5. — Reuters

HAMBURG: An armed father who took his four-year-old daughter hostage, forcing the suspension of flights at Hamburg airport, gave himself up “without resistance” on Sunday after hours of negotiations, German police said.

The 35-year-old man had barricaded himself and the child in his car at the foot of a Turkish Airlines plane on Satur­day evening, demanding to be allowed on board after a custody dispute with the mother.

He had rammed his car through the security area onto the apron where planes are parked, firing two shots in the air and throwing two burning bottles out of the vehicle, police said. “The hostage-taking has ended,” local police posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday afternoon.

“The man has left his car with his daughter and been taken for questioning by security forces without resistance,” it said, adding the child “seems in good health”.

Police had brought psychologists and teams of negotiators as well as rapid response units to the airport in northern Germany.

Authorities said a dispute over custody of the child was believed to be behind the incident, with the wife of the driver placing an emergency call alerting police to the abduction of her child.

Police had described lengthy negotiations which had taken place in Turkish and announced the father was believed to be “in possession of a loaded weapon and perhaps explosives”.

The man, a Turk according to the daily Bild newspaper, had at first deman­ded to be allowed to fly to Turkiye with his daughter. “That’s no longer the aim of negotiations,” a local police spokesperson had said.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2023

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