At least two people, as well as one attacker, were killed in six shootings in Vienna on Monday night, described by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as a “disgusting terrorist attack.”
“After this terrible crime … a second woman died from her injuries,” Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig told ORF public television.
Shortly before, the police had indicated on Twitter that he had killed “one of the attackers.”
According to Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, “at least one suspect is on the run.”
So far, the attacks have not been claimed.
The first shots took place around 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT) near a large synagogue, which was closed at that time, as were the nearby office buildings, in the heart of Vienna, a few hours before the entry into force. of the confinement decreed to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Several suspects armed with rifles” carried out the attack, according to police, who said there were “six shootings at different points.”
The president of the Jewish community of Vienna, Oskar Deutsch, said that the shooting occurred in the “vicinity” of the Stadttempel synagogue, but added that it was not yet known whether the temple was a target of the attackers.
According to the mayor, 15 people were taken to the hospital, of which seven were in serious condition.
The security forces shielded the center of the capital, according to an AFP photographer, while the spectators who had attended the last performance at the Opera before the confinement left the place under escort.
“Our Republic is living through difficult hours,” Kurz wrote on Twitter. “Our police act forcefully against the attackers of this heinous terrorist attack,” he said.
“We will never be intimidated by terrorism and we will combat these attacks by all means,” he added.
The chancellor assured that while the police are concentrating on the anti-terrorist operation, the army will protect important buildings in Vienna.
Nehammer urged the inhabitants of the Austrian capital to stay in their homes and to stay away from public places or public transport.
The city’s colleges will remain open this Tuesday, although attendance will not be mandatory if parents prefer to stay home, the mayor said.
“They looked like firecrackers, but we realized they were gunshots,” said a witness on ORF public television.
One of the attackers “fired savagely with an automatic weapon” before police arrived and opened fire, one of the witnesses said.
According to the testimony of a young woman, the police cordoned off the neighborhood. The patrons of neighborhood bars and restaurants were still confined indoors in the middle of the night.
Austria had so far not suffered any attacks like those that have shaken other countries in Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “We French share the shock and pain of the Austrian people.”
“After France, it is a friendly country that is attacked. It is our Europe,” added Macron, referring to Thursday’s knife attack in which three people lost their lives in Nice (south) and the slaughter of a teacher. days before by an Islamist near Paris.
The European Union condemned “strongly” the “horrible attack”, declared in a tweet the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, referring to “a cowardly act”.
“Europe strongly condemns this cowardly act that violates life and our human values. My thoughts go out to the victims and the inhabitants of Vienna after the horrible attack tonight. We are on the side of Austria,” wrote the official, representing Vienna. the 27 EU countries.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, was “shocked” by these “attacks” on Twitter. It is “an act of cowardice, violence and hatred.”
“Everywhere on our continent we are united against violence and hatred,” the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, said on Twitter.
“We must not give in to hatred that seeks to divide our societies,” the German Foreign Ministry said after the attacks.
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