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EKO Cobra
Cobra01.png
Patch of EKO Cobra
Active 1972–present
Country  Austria
Branch Austrian Federal Police
Type Special Forces
Role Domestic Law Enforcement and Counter-Terrorism
Size 450 operatives
Garrison/HQ Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Nickname As Gendarmerieeinsatzkommando: GEK
As Einsatzkommando Cobra: EKO
Engagements OPEC Hostage Crisis

EKO Cobra (Einsatzkommando Cobra) is Austria's foremost Counter-Terrorism unit.[1][2][3] It is not part of the Austrian Federal Police but is directly under the control of the Austrian Federal Ministry for the Interior.

Contents

History

Two members of EKO Cobra in operational loadout.

The Einsatzkommando Cobra, formerly known as GEK (Gendarmerieeinsatzkommando) was formed in 1972, primarily to protect Jewish immigrants who were using Austria as a through route to Israel from attack by Palestinian militant groups, and as a response to the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Its main office is in Wiener Neustadt, with sub-offices in Graz and Linz and Innsbruck.

The Federal Ministry of Interior changed the unit's name from GEK to EKO Cobra in 2002. Cobra was the internal code name for this Special Operations unit, influenced by the TV-Show Mission: Impossible (German: Cobra, übernehmen Sie!)[citation needed], and now it has become part of the official name.

The 450 men (1 woman) of EKO Cobra are a well trained Counter-Terrorist commando unit, and have trained with some of the most elite special forces units.

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Known Operations

EKO Cobra was involved in trying to end the OPEC siege led by Carlos (the Jackal) in 1975, a hostage rescue in the Graz-Karlau Prison in 1996, and numerous other operations. Although it has never participated in the same type of hostage rescues that GIGN, GIS, GSG 9 and the SAS have[citation needed], the EKO Cobra is the only[citation needed] Counter-Terrorism unit to end a hijacking while the plane was still in the air: On October 17, 1996, 4 Cobra officers were on board an Aeroflot Tupolev 154 escorting deported prisoners to Lagos when a Nigerian man threatened the cockpit crew with a knife and demanded a diversion to Germany or South Africa. The team overcame the man and handed him to the authorities after landing. The officers received a decoration by Russian President Putin.

Weapons

An officer of the Austrian counter-terrorism unit EKO Cobra handling a Steyr AUG rifle during an airborne operation (the aircraft is a Bell 206B Jet Ranger).

EKO Cobra is armed mainly with Austrian-produced weaponry. For example, in line with other Austrian executive bodies, they are equipped with the Steyr AUG (military designation: StG 77) assault rifle and the Glock 17 9x19mm Parabellum pistol. Their sniper rifle of choice is the Steyr SSG 69 (SD).

Depending on the situation, they also use the 9mm Steyr TMP machine pistol (another Austrian weapon), the Franchi SPAS-12, the Heckler & Koch M512 shotgun, the Remington 870, the MP5A3, the Heckler & Koch MP7, the Glock 18 machine pistol or the MZP-1 40 mm grenade launcher.

WEGA

Austria's capital city, Vienna, has its own counter-terrorist SWAT team, called WEGA (Wiener Einsatzgruppe Alarmabteilung; in English: Vienna Operation Group Alarmdepartment) which is equally trained and capable of handling serious situations such as hostage taking.[1]

External links

References


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