22 July 2021
17 November 2020
Central Europe had never been the target of a major terrorist attack, despite the rise of jihadism and the Islamic State elsewhere. While overall threat levels did not increase for the region, the Vienna attack shows the importance of understanding the profile of an attacker and the choice of target. Anti-terror measures may become more commonplace in the next years.
A series of shootings occurred on 2 November in the centre of Vienna. A gunman opened fire with a rifle, killed four civilians and injured 23 more.
The Vienna attack echoed throughout Central Europe with border checks launched by Czech police, arrests in Poland, political statements in Hungary and a trace to the perpetrator in Slovakia. There are at least two factors that magnified the response of countries in the region: the geographical proximity of the terror operation and the lack of information in the first hours after it.
Additionally, a jihadist attack in Central Europe is fitting the agenda of right-wing politicians such as Viktor Orbán who stated that Hungary is ready to do everything to save Europe from terrorist attacks. Known for pushing rhetoric on the “Islamisation of Europe” in recent years, the Hungarian government used the opportunity to once again send a political message in line with their rhetoric.