The perpetrator of a hostage-taking on a train in western Switzerland this Thursday evening was “mortally wounded” during the assault and the people he was holding were released unharmed, police said.
THE hostage taker would be a “asking for asylum” Iranian aged 32 who was armed with an ax and a knife and who spoke Farsi and English, said the spokesperson for the Vaud cantonal police Jean-Christophe Sauterel, during a press briefing.
“At this stage of the investigation, the motivations of the author are not known”the authorities further indicated.
When asked whether the war between Israel and Hamas might have played a role in the attack, neither police nor prosecutors at the news conference would comment.
The spokesperson insisted on the fact that the identity of the hostage taker was still conditional, while all the necessary checks were carried out.
If it is confirmed, the identity of the author should bring grist to the mill of the UDC, the first party in Switzerland, which constantly campaigns to denounce crimes and offenses committed by foreigners and demand a policy more severe towards asylum seekers.
Armed with an ax
The hostage-taker was shot dead by a police officer as he rushed at him with an ax, with the intervention group that managed to board the stationary train managing to interpose themselves between the attacker and the hostages .
There were fifteen of them in total, 14 passengers and the driver of the train. The hostage taking began on Thursday around 6:35 p.m. and ended around 10:30 p.m.
The alleged perpetrator first forced the driver of the train stopped at Essert-sous-Champvent station – half a dozen kilometers from Yverdon not far from Lake Neuchâtel – to leave his post and join the others passengers.
The police were alerted by the latter and the negotiations with the hostage-taker took place in part via Whatsapp messaging and through an interpreter speaking Farsi, the majority language in Iran.
The authorities finally made the decision to attack. The police took action around 10:15 p.m.
A video clip broadcast on the social network X shows the train stationary in the night before several strong, very bright explosions. A maneuver by the police to keep the hostage taker away from his victims, explained Mr. Sauterel.
The duty prosecutor and the public prosecutor of the canton of Vaud immediately went to the site and a criminal investigation was opened.
In total, around sixty police officers were hired. The intervention groups from the canton and the city of Lausanne were supported by snipers from the Geneva cantonal police.
Rare in Switzerland
Hostage-taking is quite rare in Switzerland, especially of this magnitude. The last ones to hit the headlines had villainous motivations.
In January 2022, thugs took a couple and two employees of a company hostage to gain access to vaults where precious metals were storedbut they had finally fled without their loot.
In November 2021, a director of a watch company was taken hostage at his home with members of his family. After stealing gold from his company, the six hostage takers fled to neighboring France.