At least three people have dead – two men and one woman – and more than a dozen have been wounds, at least six of them seriously, including a police officer, in a chain of attacks happened on monday night near a synagogue in downtown One. Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, has described it as “terrorist attack”. The attacks have been perpetrated by several attackers, one of whom has been killed. This was a “Islamist terrorist”, as reported by the Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, this Tuesday at a press conference.
“We have suffered an attack from at least one Islamist terrorist,” stressed Nehammer, adding that the attack is an attempt to weaken and divide Austrian democratic society. The minister explained that the assailant killed was Islamic State “sympathizer”. “He was a radicalized person who felt close to the Islamic State,” he added.
“The second assailant is still on the run“Nehammer reported, clarifying some information from Interior sources that indicated that there was already a detainee. The minister explained that the attackers were” heavily armed “and are” dangerous. ”
The antiterrorist operation is still open and this second individual is being sought. The authorities have asked the population to stay at home and not go to the area. According to the German newspaper ‘Image’, the main perpetrator of the attack is a member of Islamic State that on Monday he would have announced his action on Instagram.
One of the fatalities is one of the assailants. The second fatality has been confirmed by the mayor of the Austrian capital, Michael Ludwig. It is about a woman who has died hours later in the hospital after the injuries suffered.
Ludwig has also confirmed that the murdered assailant was “very well prepared”, since not only did he carry a long range weaponbut also a pistol and a machete, but he has ruled out that the explosives belt he carried with him was real.
Six attack scenarios
The incident began around 8:00 p.m., when heavily armed men attacked six points in the center of Vienna, starting with the outside of the synagogue in the area. from Seitenstettengasse. Witnesses have described men firing automatic rifles into the crowd. The attackers, whose exact number is not known, were carrying long-range weapons.
According to the Austrian news agency APA, there are 15 people injured in hospitals, although the Viennese authorities have not confirmed the exact number of injuries.
The Vienna police, who have cordoned off the city center, has recalled through the social network Twitter that the alert is “still active” and has asked residents to stay at home or seek refuge in case of being on the street. “Stay away from public places and do not use public transportation,” he added.
The police force has also requested not to share videos or photos“, asking that, instead, citizens share this type of material on a website that they have enabled. In addition, he has communicated that public transport does not stop in the area” until further notice. “
Local media have collected that the shooting would have taken place near a synagogue, although at the moment there is no official confirmation on this point. The president of the Israeli community in Vienna, Oskar Deutsch, has said that he cannot confirm whether the synagogue has been the target of the attack, before noting that the temple “had been closed for several hours.” “There are no people inside,” he stressed, according to the newspaper ‘Der Standard’.
Kurz: “They won’t intimidate us”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has condemned what happened, an event he called a “disgusting terrorist attack”. “Our police will take decisive action against the perpetrators,” he said via Twitter, where he was “happy” that the agents “were able to eliminate an attacker.” “We will never be intimidated by terrorism,” he has settled.
For his part, the president of the country, Alexander Van der Bellen, wanted to thank the work of the police and medical services, as well as the solidarity of foreign leaders, and stressed that freedom and democracy will be defended against these attacks “by all means”.
What happened has also attracted the attention of other leaders and personalities. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has shared a message on Twitter written in German expressing his support for the Austrians. “After France, it is a friendly country that is being attacked,” he lamented. “This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with. We will not surrender to anything,” concluded the French president.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, has said to be “shocked” and “saddened” by the “brutal attack”. “Europe is on the side of Austria with total solidarity. We are stronger than hatred and terror,” he said on Twitter.
For his part, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has expressed its “deepest condolences” to the family of the victim, as well as the “energetic condemnation” of the events, as well as the Italian Prime Minister, Guiseppe Conti, or the British, Boris Johnson, who have expressed solidarity with the Austrian authorities and people.
Background in France
In recent years, Austria has been spared the kind of such large-scale attacks as has happened in Paris, Berlin and London. In August, authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian suspected of trying to attack a leader of the Jewish community in the country’s second city, Graz. The leader was unharmed. In 1981, two people were killed and 18 wounded during an attack on the same synagogue. The action was carried out by two Palestinians.
This Monday’s attack follows two other terrorist attacks registered days ago in France. Last Friday three people died and several were injured after a man armed with a knife entered Nice Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption. A week earlier, in Paris, a high school teacher was murdered after showing his students several cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a moral and civic education class discussing freedom of expression.