Hostage held at Cologne main train station

"Police measures are continuing", Cologne police wrote on Twitter just after the special unit assaulted the shop.

He had first hurled a Molotov cocktail inside a McDonald's restaurant, injuring a teenage girl, then taken another woman hostage in an adjacent pharmacy.

Local media reported shots being fired inside the station, something which a police spokesperson later denied. "The suspect is under control", Cologne's police said after indicating a man had been holding one woman against her will. "During the police action he hurt two bystanders, one of them seriously", police said in a statement.

Authorities ordered an evacuation of the station, which is a main hub for rail traffic across Germany and western Europe.

The square behind the station was closed. Police believed the hostage-taker is armed.

"We're doing everything to get the hostage out of there unharmed", Mr Gilles said.

German railroad operator Deutsche Bahn tweeted that some of the station's tracks were shut down temporarily.

No information as to the suspect's identity or motive was provided by police.

Police could not confirm eye-witness reports that shots and explosions were heard. "A female hostage has sustained light injuries and is being tended to".

She was freed when police stormed the shop. Police would not speculate on whether the hostage situation was terror-related.

  • Jon Douglas