Austrian authorities ordered increased police surveillance outside churches in the capital of Vienna on Wednesday after receiving intelligence of an Islamist-motivated planned attack.
“The Directorate for State Security and Intelligence received information that an Islamist-motivated attack is planned in Vienna,” Vienna Police tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
Residents were informed they are likely to encounter a larger than usual police presence with “special equipment” across the city due to a “non-specific threat of an assault against churches.”
“The duration of this increased property protection cannot be estimated at this time. If there is a specific danger to the population at a specific location, LPD Vienna will immediately issue a warning via all available channels.”
A further tweet confirmed the preventive security measures do not only relate to Christian churches but also other houses of prayer and institutions of various denominations and will remain in place until further notice.
“Police officers are equipped with bulletproof helmets and vests and assault rifles. They will carry out surveillance work as well as checks on road traffic,” police spokesman Markus Dittrich told local station Radio Wien.
“We don’t seem to be primarily affected,” said Michael Prüller, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna, told the Associated Press.
“Although the police informed us of a general threat, they also told us that the Catholics were not in any immediate danger. Therefore, we have decided to keep our churches open to the public and for now to hold all services as scheduled,” he added.