Vienna shooting: four dead, including ‘Islamist terrorist’, in Austria attack

Warning!!! Some readers may find the content below highly distressing!!! 

Austrian police have started a manhunt after terrorists opened fire at a number of places across Vienna, killing at least four people and injuring several more. 

One of the terrorists, identified as an ISIS follower, was gunned down by officers who said they were looking for at least one more person still on the loose.

Fifteen people were badly hurt in the gunfire which took place in the center of the city, and among them was also a policeman, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said today.

The horrific attacks in six different locations, including one in close proximity to a synagogue, were done by

“several suspects armed with rifles”, police said on Monday.

The country is still trying to figure out whether additional attacks may be in the works.

“It sounded like firecrackers, then we realised it was shots,” said one eyewitness as per ORF.

A man had “shot wildly with an automatic weapon” before police got to the location and opened fire, the witness added.

During a Tuesday morning press conference, Interior Minister Nehamer urged people to remain home.

He referred to what happened as an attack on the country’s values and democratic society.

“The attacker sympathised with the militant terrorist group IS,” he said.

Mayor Michael Ludwig told ORF earlier that one person was murdered and a second died of her injuries while being surrounded early morning on Tuesday.

The shootings began at around 8 pm on Monday, when a number of armed with rifles men opened fire outside Vienna’s main synagogue.

Authorities said schools would be closed on Tuesday.

Helicopters and sirens could be heard all over the city as emergency services responded to the attacks and a big part of Vienna was sealed off.

Thomas Mayer, the European Editor at Der Standard newspaper, told Al Jazeera that

“there are police everywhere and the city centre is closed”.

“The problem is there are so many people who went to restaurants and bars to have some joy in the last evening before lockdown (and now) these people cannot go home,” he added.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz posted on Twitter:

“We are experiencing difficult hours in our republic,” adding that the army would protect the capital so the police could deal with anti-terror operations.

“Our police will act decisively against the perpetrators of this repulsive terror attack,” Kurz said.

“We will never be intimidated by terrorism and we will fight this attack with all means”.

The terrorists, the chancellor later told ORF, were “very well prepared” and “very well equipped, with automatic weapons”.

Nehammer told ORF earlier:

“We have brought several special forces units together that are now searching for the presumed terrorists. I am therefore not limiting it to an area of Vienna, because these are mobile perpetrators.”

Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister told LBC radio he was inside the synagogue when the shootings started.

“Upon hearing shots, we looked down [from] the windows and saw the gunmen shooting at the guests of the various bars and pubs,” he said.

“The gunmen were running around and shooting at least 100 rounds or even more in front of our building,” he added.

Restaurants and bars were filled with people at the time of the attack.

A witness named Eveline described the moment everyone started running after hearing gunshots.

“Suddenly the shooting started, at first we did not know what it was … Then there was shooting again, but closer, so we started to run away,” she told The Associated Press news agency.

“Because we did not know if we were running in the right direction, we ran into a hotel and hid there.”

French President Emmanuel Macron posted on Twitter that France:

“shared the shock and grief of the Austrian people … This is Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will never give up.”

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply shocked” at the acts of terrorism and added that Britain stood in solidarity with Austria.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutter shared the sentiment saying:

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with the Austrian government in dealing with this heinous act,” he wrote on Twitter.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and EU Council chief Charles Michel also “strongly condemned” the terror attacks.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry of Germany tweeted that the reports from Austria were “horrifying and disturbing”.

“We can’t give in to hatred that is aimed at dividing our societies,” they added.

Authorities in the Czech Republic said they were doing checks on the border with Austria.

“Police are carrying out random checks of vehicles and passengers on border crossings with Austria as a preventive measure in relation to the terror attack in Vienna,” Czech police said on Twitter.

What are your thoughts on the recent wave of terror attacks across Europe? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it informative.

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