Bomb Threat Leads to Shootout Near Innsbruck

A caller’s threat to the Altstadt in Innsbruck on Wednesday led to a wide-ranging evacuation and shootout between the alleged caller and police.

On Wednesday evening, the Tyrolean capital went through what is thankfully but a rare occurrence here in Austria: A bomb threat that shuttered parts of Innsbruck, leading to an exchange of fire outside of town. The suspect, non-lethally wounded, is now in custody. No police officers were harmed.

At around 19:30 a caller told police that he had planted a bomb in an Innsbruck café, public broadcaster ORF reported, which prompted a major operation led by police, the fire department and ambulance services. The affected parts of the old town were evacuated, reports said, while buses and trams were diverted.

Police traced the call to the cell phone of the alleged caller in Oberau in der Wildschönau, ORF reported, while at the same time a driver called police to tell them he had dropped of a drunk passenger in the same area, who was carrying a firearm and said he’d made the threat. Police confronted the man at a gas station in Niederau. He was armed, police said, and after being warned unexpectedly pointed his weapon at a female officer. The man was injured in an exchange of fire and taken by helicopter to hospital, where he is recovering from non-lethal injuries. No others were harmed. The alleged perpetrator, according to authorities, is a 55-year-old man with an extensive criminal record.

A search of the purported bomb site turned up negative, police told ORF on Thursday morning. The motive for the threat remains unclear, but this is the second bomb threat in Innsbruck within a week – last Saturday, a disco with 400 guests had to be evacuated, though no explosives were found.

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Naomi Hunt
Naomi Hunt is a managing editor at Metropole, with roots in the U.S. and Malaysia that have long been buried under Austrian soil. She previously served as a program manager at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and was a Senior Press Freedom Adviser at the International Press Institute (IPI).

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