VIENNA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Tuesday condemned the Berlin truck attack and expressed condolences to those affected, Austria Press Agency reported.
In a brief statement following a cabinet meeting, Kurz referred to the event in neighboring Germany as a "terrible tragedy."
"This is a terrible day for us all," he added, and said Berlin is a city that Austrians feel closeness to.
Kurz stated it is now of great importance to let the Austrian population know that "we will do everything in our power to ensure the protection of Austrians."
This includes the "way of life" in the country, and stressed cohesion and the defense of Austria's plural and open society as key values.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka said Austrian security is to be on increased alert and police presence in key areas would be strengthened following the Berlin attack.
Austria Press Agency reports increased alertness, including airport security and special police forces, will remain in place until Jan. 9.
He added there is presently nothing that would indicate a threat, nor is there any reason to avoid Christmas markets or new year's celebrations in light of the Berlin incident.
"When a democratic society goes to its knees before terrorism, that is the wrong signal," he added.