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'Hostage situation' shuts down Hamburg airport

HAMBURG, GERMANY - A “hostage situation” is unfolding at the Hamburg Airport in Germany, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights.

A total of 27 flights were affected on Saturday night after an armed man drove a car through a barrier into the grounds of the airport and shot a weapon twice into the air before hurling two burning bottles described as “Molotov cocktails” out of the vehicle.

The car with the 35-year-old man and 4-year-old child was parked under a plane, a police spokesperson said.

The incident is believed to be connected to a custody battle.

Hamburg Police said on social media: “The LKA negotiating group and psychologists are on site.”

BBC Economics Editor Faisal Islam tweeted: “Rather unsurprisingly BA captain has just emerged to tell us the evening flight from Heathrow to Hamburg has just been cancelled with all of us on board...”

Police said no one appeared to be injured but the airport took the step of closing for takeoffs and landings.

A large number of officers from state and federal police were on site and in the vicinity of the vehicle, federal police spokesman Thomas Gerbert told German news agency dpa.

Bild reported that at about 8pm local time the gunman drove in front of Terminal 1 in an Audi without a number plate.

The driver had originally sped away but a few minutes later broke through a security barrier at the north gate and drove towards the planes.

Special forces were also sent to the airport.