Rumours of Afghan knifemen at synagogue denied by police

Rumours that two Afghan men had been arrested carrying knives outside a synagogue in Vienna were being denied by Austrian police on Saturday evening.

Rumours of Afghan knifemen at synagogue denied by police
Police attend a routine demonstration in Vienna. File photo: Paul Gillingwater

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva, the two men had been arrested after sitting on a bench outside a Vienna synagogue, armed with knives.

The paper reported that when a security guard approached the two men to ask what they were doing near the synagogue, they said they were Jews waiting for the rabbi and other members of the congregation. 

The guard notified the local police, who were stationed nearby.

The paper further reported that one of the suspects already known to the authorities.

Saturday evening is the beginning of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

According to police sources on Saturday evening, they were unaware of any official reports, and were in the process of confirming the situation. They denied that such an incident occurred when contacted on Sunday morning.

It is believed that the incident was nothing more than an Internet rumour, which was spread by the Israeli news source.

The Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Vienna (IKV) assured the members of its community on Saturday evening, “that there never was such an incident”, according to a report in the Wiener Zeitung.

Due to past threats, Vienna's synagogues and some embassies have an around-the-clock police presence, especially in the wake of the recent events in Berlin.

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‘Decomposing smell’: Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

Austria's police department said they were called to an apartment complex in Vienna after a person was concerned about a "smell of decomposition".

'Decomposing smell': Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

This week, the Viennese police department started a weekly ‘series’ of sharing interesting stories on their social media accounts

Calling the series ‘Misunderstanding Wednesday’ (Missverständnismittwoch), the very first post is about a call they received to an apartment complex after a concerned citizen complained to emergency services about a “smell of decomposition in the staircase”.

READ ALSO: Stephansdom: Vienna woken up after hacker sets church bells to ring at 2am

The alleged corpse, it turns out, was just the neighbour’s smelly shoes which were left in the building corridor, in front of their apartment.

The police didn’t say when exactly the incident took place.

“When our colleagues are called because of the ‘smell of decomposition in the staircase’… and notice that the stunk is from the neighbour’s shoes which were left in front of the apartment door”, the official Twitter account of the Vienna police department reads.

‘When in doubt it is an emergency’

The authorities were light-hearted about the misunderstanding, even sharing a “meme-like” picture on their social media accounts, saying “some missions turn out to be different than initially assumed”.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

However, they reiterated that the misunderstandings should not deter people from calling 133, the emergency police number. They added that in case of emergencies and even if you are not sure, the authorities should be called and they will assist you.

“Note: in case of doubt, it is an emergency”, the Vienna police department says. “Never be afraid to dial the emergency number.”