Two vicious knife attacks in one district of the Austrian capital Vienna on Wednesday evening have left four people seriously injured.
Viennese police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer told the Associated Press that the motive was unclear and added that they did not know if the attacks were in any way related.
The stabbings took place in Vienna’s Second District. A male with Afghan nationality has been arrested. According to the police, the victims include one man and two women between the ages of 40 and 50 years.
“A man attacked a family – a father, a mother and their 17-year-old daughter – with a knife. The three people were seriously injured and their lives are in danger,” the spokesman said.
“And half an hour later there was another attack … at Praterstern and here a person was also seriously injured and their life is in danger. We do not know to what extent there is a connection here and any motive remains unclear,” the spokesperson added.
Vienna’s tactical police unit WEGA was deployed for the manhunt. Five hours after the attack, Vienna police tweeted that they had made an arrest, but did not specify who they had arrested.
Witness Silvia Franke said she was about 100 metres from where the stabbing took place.
“I saw how someone in the middle of the street was screaming and shouting – I thought he was beating his dog judging from his hand movements,” she said. “And in reality he was stabbing this man.”
“He could have stabbed me too had I been near him by chance,” Franke said. “He had lost all control.”
Another knife attack shortly afterwards in the same area seriously wounded a 20-year-old Chechen, the spokesperson said.
Vienna has not experienced the jihadist attacks that have plagued Paris, Berlin and Brussels since 2015. According to reports underground transport at and around the Nestroyplatz have been redirected.
The Islamische Vereinigung in Österreich (IVO), or Islamic Union of Austria’s office is next to the metro entrance of Nestroyplatz.