• Austria's news in English

Plans to boost security in wake of Paris attacks

The Local · 12 Jan 2015, 12:43

Published: 12 Jan 2015 12:43 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told the national broadcaster ORF that a group of security experts are working “under pressure” to draft the new measures, which she hopes to announce at the end of this week.

The French cabinet has held a crisis meeting on security after 17 people were killed in Paris last week in attacks at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, on a police officer, and at a kosher supermarket.

Mikl-Leitner said that Austria’s security forces will need heavily armoured vehicles and larger helicopters to enable a quick deployment of special forces, should Austria experience a similar situation.

She said that she had a clear commitment from Chancellor Werner Faymann that money would be available to bolster the security services. She couldn’t say how much the new measures would cost but said it would be somewhere in the three-digit million range.

She added that there needed to be “tighter controls” on the numbers of people returning to Austria after fighting with militants in Iraq and Syria. The interior ministry says that so far 170 people have left Austria to join jihadist fighters, and 60 of them have returned and are under observation by the security forces.

Mikl-Leitner confirmed that Austria is on “high alert” in the wake of the French attacks and that busy areas are being more heavily policed.

Austria's president and chancellor (centre) joined a solidarity rally in Vienna. Photo: APA/NEUBAUER

In a New Year’s address to the diplomatic corp in Vienna on Monday, Austrian President Heinz Fisher condemned the attacks in Paris “in the strongest terms”, and expressed solidarity with the victims. “Je suis Charlie”, he said.

He spoke against "fanaticism, fundamentalism, violence and even an exaggerated nationalism," but added that "religious groups and their leaders are trying to reset the divide and establish common ground".

Meanwhile, Austria's Jewish Community (IKG) has written an open letter to the government complaining that the Jewish victims of the Paris attacks were all but forgotten in a memorial rally in Vienna on Sunday. 

"Everyone is Charlie but no one is a Jew!", IKG president Oskar Deutsch said. Four Jews were killed in the attack on a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes on Friday.

"The Jewish community wonders why it seems so difficult to honour the Jewish people and to call them by name, so they will never be forgetten. They were Europeans, who were executed because of their religion," the statement from the IKG read. 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available