Austria police find body after siege

Austrian police have found a body they believe is a man suspected of shooting dead three policemen and a paramedic.

The charred body was discovered at the farmhouse where he lived near Melk, Lower Austria, after special forces stormed the building.

They searched the house for hours, as the suspect – named as Alois Huber, 55 – was reportedly heavily armed.

The drama began on Monday when officers tried to arrest the man on suspicion of poaching near the town of Annaberg.

‘Secret room’

Police tried to stop his car, but the man reportedly opened fire after heading into a ditch, injuring a police officer who later died in hospital.

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A paramedic was shot dead as he tried to help the officer, and a second policeman was injured.

The gunman then fled on foot, killing a second police officer and taking a third hostage.

He stole their police car and drove, with his captive, to his farmhouse, about 90km (55 miles) west of the capital Vienna.

Officials later discovered the body of the third policeman at the farm. A large section of the area was cordoned off.

About 100 special forces officers on armoured police vehicles were involved in the operation.

They eventually stormed the farmhouse after shots were fired at them.

The charred body was found in a “secret room” of the farmhouse, according to Austria’s Krone newspaper.

Reports say that the suspect set himself on fire, but this has not been officially confirmed.

The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Vienna says there is a sense of shock in Austria.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner described the events as “unprecedented” in the history of the Austrian police.

She said the officers and the paramedic had “laid down their lives for our safety”, expressing condolences to their families and colleagues.