Swiss police killed a 32-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who held 15 hostages for several hours on a train using an axe and a knife on Thursday.
The incident occurred between Baulmes and Yverdon-les-Bains in western Switzerland, with the man holding the passengers captive for almost four hours until police stormed the train late on Thursday evening.
According to reports from Vaud police, the hostage-taking began around 6:35 pm local time, when the assailant, speaking Farsi and English, forced the train engineer to abandon his post and join the 14 passengers onboard. The train was immobilized with its doors closed at the Essert-sous-Champvent station, between Baulmes and Yverdon-les-Bains.
Authorities were alerted by passengers directly, leading to the sealing off of the area to facilitate negotiations with the hostage-taker.
The intervention occurred when the perpetrator was separated from the hostages, as stated by Jean-Christophe Sauterel, spokesperson for the Vaud cantonal police. “As the hostage-taker rushed with his axe in the direction of the intervention group, a police officer used his weapon to protect the hostages, fatally hitting the perpetrator,” explained Sauterel. Despite the presence of a doctor among the police team, the man died at the scene, with police asserting that they acted in self-defense.
The Vaud Public Prosecutor's Office has started a criminal investigation into the incident. Attorney General Eric Kaltenrieder stated, “The man's motivations have not been established, nor his psychological state.”
Switzerland is relatively safer among European countries, and hostage-taking incidents of this scale are very rare in the country.
In December, Arman(d) Rajabpour Miyandoab, an Iranian-French national, was arrested in Paris during a deadly knife attack on people.
Rajabpour's social media account, which was opened in the same month on the X platform, contained "many posts about Hamas, Gaza, or generally Palestine."