Holland supporters and German police officers on Hamburg's famous Reeperbahn. GETTY IMAGES

German police were forced to shoot a man who threatened to attack supporters with a pickaxe and a Molotov cocktail in Hamburg on Sunday 16 June. The incident took place on Silbersackstrasse in St. Pauli when a man tried to attack several fans and threatened police officers. Police shot the man up to four times, according to video footage of the incident.

The major police operation took place near the Hamburg fan zone on Sunday afternoon. A man armed with a pickaxe and a Molotov cocktail bomb was shot dead by police near Silbersackstrasse. 40,000 fans were marching peacefully in Hamburg ahead of the Euro 2008 match between Poland and the Netherlands when, at 12.30pm, officers had to deal with a troublemaker who tried to attack the fans with a pickaxe in the middle of the crowd.

The police first used pepper spray on the attacker and then used their firearms. According to police, one officer fired a warning shot to stop the attacker, then several shots were fired as the man was about to ignite the Molotov cocktail before he finally fell to the ground.

Police believe he was trying to set off the incendiary device amid the noise of the fans. The man was hit in the leg and injured and later received medical attention. The shaven-headed man, dressed in black, had come from a fast-food restaurant. According to initial reports, he is a 39-year-old German man who may have acted alone and may have mental health problems.

Police have already ruled out any link between the alleged attack and the European football championships. Security forces will be on high alert until 14 July to prevent hooliganism and possible terrorist attacks.