germany police
Special operations unit has tackled an ax-wielding man with a hoax bomb who triggered panic and a hostage situation at a slot machine hall in Lower Saxony. So far, authorities see no signs of "political or religious motivation."

Four people, including a manager, were inside when a man armed with an ax and accompanied by a dog entered the small gambling venue in the city of Buchholz around 11:00am local time and started smashing slot machines and threatening patrons. One of the guests failed to flee and had to barricade himself inside a restroom, forcing authorities to cordon off the area and deploy a special operations unit SEK to resolve the potentially dangerous hostage situation.

Several hours into the standoff, armed officers managed to overpower and tackle the attacker, but had to shoot his dog which charged at them amid the raid. No one else was injured in the incident.

During a search, police discovered several "containers with protruding cables" on the man's body, but the bomb disposal team said the device was a hoax.

The 29-year-old suspect was taken to a mental ward for psychiatric evaluation. While his identity and motives remain unclear, authorities were swift to rule out "political or religious motivation," at least at this early stage of the investigation.

The incident come in a wake of a series of stabbing attacks across Europe on Friday. In the Dutch city of The Hague, a 35-year-old man stabbed three minors on a busy shopping street. Police have not yet ruled out terrorism, but media reports suggest that "there is no indication" of an extremist link.

In London, 28-year-old Usman Khan - who wore a fake suicide vest during the rampage - stabbed five people near London Bridge, killing two, before he was restrained by witnesses and shot dead by police officers. That attack, perpetrated by a previously convicted extremist on parole, was declared an act of terrorism.