A probable “Islamist-motivated attack” against churches and other places of worship in Vienna was foreshadowed by Austrian police on Wednesday, according to anonymous information the nation’s intelligence service had received.
Police in Vienna tweeted that they had enhanced officer presence and tightened security in front of particular buildings.
According to a tweet from Vienna police, there is a general threat of an assault against churches. Points of importance have been placed under additional guard by regular and special operation police personnel as a precaution.
“Vienna police will issue an immediate warning via all possible channels if there is a concrete threat for the community at a concrete site,” officials stated.
Later on Wednesday, Vienna police emphasized in another tweet that the danger alert covered other places of worship besides churches.
Police tweeted that their preventive measures applied to houses of worship of all confessions and exclusively Christian ones.
Which other religious communities would be impacted was not mentioned.
According to the police department, knowing how long security precautions will be in place is impossible.
Police officers are outfitted with assault guns, bulletproof jackets, and helmets.
In addition to conducting traffic checks, they will conduct surveillance operations, police spokesperson Markus Dittrich said, Radio Wien.
He did not provide any other information regarding the context of the threat, but he did state that more police officers would be patrolling the area around churches.
The police asked people not to share pictures or videos of police personnel in the field on social media.
Catholic churches did not appear to be the primary target, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna who talked to The Associated Press.
We don’t seem to be the leading group impacted, Michael Prueller remarked. “Although the police advised us of the overall threat, they also assured us that Catholics are not in immediate danger.
So, we decided to continue holding all scheduled church services while keeping our churches open to the public for now.
On Wednesday, St. Stephen’s Church in Vienna was crowded with the faithful and tourists.
The largest religious group in Austria is Roman Catholic, which makes up more than half of the population.
Together with Muslims and Jews, there are also smaller numbers of Lutheran Christians, Orthodox immigrant communities, and other religions.
With an automatic weapon and a phony bomb vest, a guy who had previously attempted to join the Islamic State group went on the rampage in Vienna in 2020.
He killed four people before being shot and killed by police.