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Manhunt launched after man shoots at Austrian soldiers near Hungarian border

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By AP  with Euronews
Austrian defense ministry has said that no soldiers were injured in the incident.
Austrian defense ministry has said that no soldiers were injured in the incident.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ronald Zak, File

Hungarian authorities are searching for a suspected people smuggler who allegedly fired at Austrian soldiers after evading a border check.

Austria's Ministry of Defence said in a statement that a van broke through a border crossing in Eberau in the Austrian region of Burgenland on Monday morning.

The van -- which had Hungarian license plates -- was stopped by Austrian soldiers before an "alleged trafficker" opened fire on the troops.

"While the soldiers fortunately remained unharmed, the trafficker fled in the direction of Hungary," the ministry said in a statement.

Hungarian police and forces from Hungary’s Counter-Terrorism Centre continue to search for the suspect near the town of Szentpeterfa.

A police spokesperson told the APA news agency that Moldovan suspected traffickers had been arrested alongside 12 asylum seekers. Police in Vas County, Hungary, said the search for the suspect is ongoing.

"This incident today illustrates that the actions of traffickers and the associated criminality have reached new dimensions," said Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner.

"I am glad that the deployed soldiers were unhurt in the exchange of fire," she added, "I would like to thank all the soldiers who have been deployed to ensure security at Austria's borders."