A terrorist attack has taken place in the center of Vienna. Several people died and more than a dozen were injured. The police spoke of several attackers. One of them was dead, one was arrested.
On Monday evening, a heavy armed attack took place in the center of Vienna. The Ministry of the Interior speaks of a terrorist attack. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also confirmed to ORF that evening that it was “absolutely” about terror. Police say there have been several deaths, including a passerby. One of the attackers is also dead, a policeman was shot. Several people were injured. Initial reports that the attack was aimed at a nearby synagogue were found to be unconfirmed. However, an anti-Semitic-motivated attack cannot be ruled out, Kurz said in his initial statement.
The situation is still confusing at the moment. As Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told ORF late Monday evening, the attack continued. “We are still fighting the suspected terrorists.” He assumes several heavily armed perpetrators. The minister appealed to citizens to avoid public places. “The perpetrators used long guns. The police, the special units Cobra and Vega are working hard to clear up the situation and eliminate the perpetrators.”
Kurz also confirmed that a suspected culprit had been eliminated – and that other suspects were on the run. “They are very well equipped and have automatic weapons.” An injured police officer is out of danger. “The operation is still underway at the moment,” Kurz continued. The situation mainly affects the city center, it is not entirely clear yet.
The mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, also stated that one of the attackers may have been wearing an explosives belt. That assumption is there, he said on ORF Monday evening. “We will soon know if it was such an explosive belt,” said the politician. An ORF correspondent reported that the suspected perpetrator who was shot was still lying in front of the Ruprechtskirche and that he was still believed to be wearing an explosives belt.
Terror in Vienna: a video shows a man walking through the city center with a gun and firing shots. (Source: screenshot)
According to the police, the first shots were fired around 8 p.m. in the Seitenstettengasse. She assumed there were at least six crime scenes near the street and Schwedenplatz. A passerby was killed. At least 15 victims have been taken to hospitals for care, including seven seriously injured, according to ORF. One of the alleged attackers was shot.
An eyewitness video showed a person lying on the floor and a large pool of blood in front of a pub. Another video showed a masked gunman firing at least two shots into the open street. An officer was seriously injured, according to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior. He was shot with a long gun.
Images circulating on the internet apparently show the arrest of four people in the center of Vienna. The men kneel on the floor, shirtless and with their hands raised. What this is all about is unclear.
Arrest: In Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets, the police overcame four men. You had to free your upper body first – out of concern about potentially explosive vests. (Source: Twitter / SVNewsAlters)
Arrest: In the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets, the police overpowered four men. You had to free your upper body first – out of concern about potentially explosive vests. (Source: Twitter / SVNewsAlerts)
Early in the evening, it was feared that the synagogue in the Seitenstettengasse could be the target of the attack after eyewitnesses reported gunshots at the church. The spokeswoman for the Ministry of Interior did not want to confirm this yet. The president of the Israelite Kultusgemeinde, Oskar Deutsch, told the newspaper “Der Standard” that the synagogue was closed at the time of the incident.
In the area around the crime scene, many guests stayed in the bars late in the evening, waiting for the signal from the police to leave. The district was cordoned off over a large area. According to their own statements, the police have mobilized all available forces. Helicopters circled above the city center. Local public transport in the center of the capital has stopped completely.