Shots are fired in the middle of the Austrian capital, resulting in several deaths and injuries. Chancellor Kurz speaks of a “disgusting terrorist attack”. One of the crime scenes is near a synagogue.
Several people were killed and injured in a terrorist attack in the center of Vienna on Monday evening. Austrian police reported at least two deaths late in the evening, including one of the perpetrators. At least 15 people were taken to hospitals with injuries. According to Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, at least one suspect was still on the run on Tuesday evening. The background to the crime remained unclear even after hours. “Whoever attacks one of us attacks all of us,” said the minister.
The attack had started around 8 p.m. in the Seitenstettengasse, where many people were on the road shortly before the new Corona curfew began. There is also a synagogue there. According to Kurz, the Austrian Chancellor could not rule out an anti-Semitic background. At the same time, he added, “We can’t really say anything about the background yet.” Police said there were six different crime scenes. Several perpetrators with “long weapons” were involved in the attack. Kurz condemned the attack as a “heinous terrorist attack”.
Even after midnight, not everything was free. Most of the center of the Austrian capital was cordoned off. The authorities called on citizens to stay at home. In addition to the police, soldiers were also deployed to protect property. Interior Minister Nehammer renewed the call to the Viennese during the night: “Avoid the city center,” said Nehammer. The students would not have to go to school if they or their parents did not want to. The authorities want to stay informed of the latest status of the search at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Videos and images circulate on the net
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. Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig said on ORF that one of the attackers may have worn an explosives belt. In the attack, people were “haphazardly shot at people in the pubs” – especially people sitting outside. An ORF correspondent reported that the suspected perpetrator who was shot was still standing in front of the Ruprechtskirche.
Terror in Vienna: A video shows a man walking through the city center with a gun and firing shots. (Source: screenshot)
Images are also circulating on the internet that 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 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 / SVNewsAlters)
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 / SVNewsAlerts)
Early in the evening, it was feared that the synagogue in 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. Police said they mobilized all available troops. Helicopters circled above the city center. Local public transport in the center of the capital has been completely discontinued.
The police again called on the population at night to avoid public places. “We are in action with all possible strength. Please avoid all public places in the city,” he said on Twitter. It was also asked not to spread rumors over the internet. “DO NOT post videos and photos on social media, this endangers both the emergency services and the civilian population!”