Gunmen attacked six areas in central Vienna on Monday beginning outdoors the primary synagogue, killing two folks and injuring at the least 14 in what Austrian authorities known as a “repulsive terror assault.” Police mentioned they have been searching a number of assailants nonetheless on the unfastened.
Witnesses described the lads firing into crowds in bars with automated rifles as many individuals took benefit of the final night earlier than a nationwide COVID-19 curfew was to take impact.
Police shot and killed one assailant and sealed off a lot of the historic centre of Vienna, urging the general public to shelter in place.
Many individuals sought refuge in bars and inns whereas public transport all through the previous city was shut down and police scoured the town.
“We’re victims of a despicable terror assault within the federal capital that’s nonetheless ongoing,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz mentioned hours after the gunfire erupted.
“One of many perpetrators was neutralized, however a number of perpetrators seem to nonetheless be on the unfastened,” he mentioned. “They appear to additionally, so far as we all know, be very nicely geared up with automated weapons. In order that they have been very nicely ready. It is positively a terror assault.”
Six websites of taking pictures
Police mentioned that a number of pictures have been fired shortly after eight p.m. native time on a energetic road within the metropolis centre and that there have been six taking pictures areas. Unverified footage posted on social media confirmed gunmen strolling by way of the streets, apparently taking pictures at random and wounding a number of folks.
Inside Minister Karl Nehammer informed public broadcaster ORF that the military had been requested to protect key areas within the metropolis to permit police to pursue the gunmen.
“In the mean time, I can verify we consider that is an obvious terror assault,” he mentioned.
Kurz praised police for killing one of many attackers and vowed: “We is not going to ever permit ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and can battle these assaults with all means.”
Authorities gave no indication of the identification of the assailants or the explanation for the assault.
WATCH | A number of killed in Vienna after gunmen open hearth:
Border checks have been being bolstered, the Inside Ministry mentioned, and kids wouldn’t be required to attend faculty on Tuesday. Though folks have been urged to remain indoors Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig informed ORF the town would run usually on Tuesday, albeit with a harder police presence.
“In accordance with what we presently know, at the least one perpetrator continues to be on the run,” Nehammer mentioned.
“We’ve got introduced a number of particular forces items collectively that at the moment are trying to find the presumed terrorists. I’m subsequently not limiting it to an space of Vienna, as a result of these are cell perpetrators,” Nehammer earlier informed ORF.
President Emmanuel Macron of France, which has seen two lethal knife assaults in Paris and Good in current weeks, issued a press release expressing shock and sorrow.
“That is our Europe,” he mentioned. “Our enemies should know with whom they’re dealing. We is not going to retreat.”
French officers have ramped up safety after the assaults in Paris and Good, which had suspected Islamist motives. Macron has deployed hundreds of troopers to guard websites comparable to locations of worship and faculties, and ministers have warned that different Islamist militant assaults might happen.
Canada condemns assault
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the assault in a message posted to Twitter, calling it “horrific.”
At present’s taking pictures in Vienna is horrific and heartbreaking. We condemn within the strongest phrases potential this act of terrorism. Our ideas are with the folks of Austria and everybody affected by this deplorable act.Advertisement
Jewish neighborhood chief Oskar Deutsch mentioned on Twitter that it was not clear whether or not the Vienna synagogue and adjoining places of work had been the goal of an assault, and mentioned they have been closed on the time.
Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister informed The Related Press that he noticed at the least one individual hearth pictures at folks sitting outdoors bars on the street under his window.
“They have been taking pictures at the least 100 rounds simply outdoors our constructing,” Hofmeister mentioned.
“All these bars have tables outdoors. This night is the final night earlier than the lockdown. As of midnight, all bars and eating places will likely be closed in Austria for the following month and lots of people in all probability wished to make use of that night to have the ability to exit.”
Kurz mentioned these have been “troublesome hours for our republic” and vowed: “Our police will act decisively in opposition to the culprits of this despicable terror assault.”
Police urge public to not share movies
Movies circulated on social media of a gunman working down a cobblestone road taking pictures and shouting. Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm the movies.
Vienna police urged folks to not share movies and photographs by way of social media. “This jeopardizes police forces in addition to the civilian inhabitants,” they mentioned on Twitter.
In 1981, two folks have been killed and 18 injured throughout an assault by two Palestinians on the similar synagogue. In 1985, a Palestinian extremist group attacked Vienna airport with hand grenades and assault rifles, killing three civilians.
Lately, Austria has been spared the kind of large-scale assaults seen in Paris, Berlin and London.
In August, authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of making an attempt to assault a Jewish neighborhood chief within the metropolis of Graz. The chief was unharmed.