Amid heightened terror alert levels this holiday season, Omar Haijawi-Pirchner, the Director of the Directorate for State Protection and Intelligence (DSN), has sought to reassure the public in an interview with the "Kleine Zeitung."
Despite acknowledging that Christmas markets could potentially be extremist targets, he assures that there is no cause for alarm. The Austrian Interior Ministry has backed this stance, confirming the implementation of enhanced security measures at these festive gatherings.
Increased Security at Christmas Markets
Reflecting on past incidents of planned or actual attacks, Haijawi-Pirchner highlighted the need for increased vigilance. Consequently, security presence at Christmas markets has been significantly stepped up. Both covert and overt protective measures have been put into operation, spearheaded by the police force.
The Austrian Interior Ministry has confirmed that these enhanced safety precautions include increased patrols and the deployment of plainclothes officers. Regular coordination with market stall operators is also being undertaken to ensure a seamless and coordinated response to any potential threats. In addition, more barriers have been installed in Styria to safeguard public spaces.