Wien Several people were killed and injured in a suspected terrorist attack in downtown Vienna on Monday evening. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the Vienna rescue service of the Austrian news agency APA. The Vienna police tweeted that a passer-by had been killed and several people were seriously injured, including a police officer. According to an ORF reporter, 15 victims of the attack are being treated in hospitals. Seven of them were seriously injured.
Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on ORF that it was apparently a terrorist attack. “The attack is still ongoing,” said Nehammer at around 9.45pm. It is difficult to say more precisely at this moment. The police tweeted that several perpetrators with long guns were involved in the attack.
At around 8 p.m., shots were fired “from the Seitenstettengasse area”. The APA, citing the Ministry of the Interior, reported that there had been an arrest and that possible other perpetrators were being searched. According to a ministry spokeswoman, a police officer was shot and seriously injured in the exchange of fire near Schwedenplatz.
One perpetrator was shot dead by the police. There were at least six crime scenes. There is a synagogue very close to one of the crime scenes. Videos broadcast by private broadcaster “Oe24” on Monday evening showed a masked shooter who fired at least two shots on the street. Another video showed a large pool of blood outside a restaurant.
Florian Klenk, editor-in-chief of the Viennese weekly newspaper “Falter”, wrote on Twitter that police radio even reported seven deaths. Officially, however, this could not be confirmed. He further wrote: “A video is circulating and it is very clear: man with a rifle, beard, riot gear. That was probably an assassination attempt. “
Unclear whether the destination was synagogue
It has not yet been confirmed whether the nearby synagogue was the target of the attack, the spokeswoman said. The background was initially unclear. An ORF reporter reported that large parts of the city center were cordoned off and the police were looking for any other perpetrators.
The chairman of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, Oskar Deutsch, wrote on Twitter that it could not be said at the moment whether the city temple was one of the targets. “What is certain, however, is that both the synagogue in Seitenstettengasse and the office building at the same address were no longer in operation and closed at the time of the first shots.”
The police called on citizens to avoid public places. “We are working with all possible forces. Please avoid all public places in the city area, “it said on Twitter. It was also asked not to upload any videos or photos. “DO NOT post videos and photos on social media, this endangers both emergency services and civilians!”
According to the police, there are currently no public transport stops in downtown Vienna. “Stay safe, leave public places immediately,” tweeted the police in the Austrian capital on Monday evening.
The act takes place on the last day before a lockdown with nightly curfews is imposed in Austria due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eyewitnesses reported that there were many people in downtown Vienna at the time.
German politicians are dismayed
The SPD chairman Norbert Walter-Borjans spoke on Monday evening on Twitter of “shocking news”. “Whatever the motive and whoever the perpetrator might be. Such acts deserve ostracism, zero tolerance and all the harshness of the law. ”FDP leader Christian Lindner tweeted:“ Our thoughts are in #Wien ”.
The Federal Managing Director of the Greens, Michael Kellner, wrote in a tweet: “This is just terrible – with the thoughts in #Vienna. Together against anti-Semitism ”. The Federal Government’s Migration Commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), also spoke up via the short message service: “Terrible news from #Vienna. My thoughts are with the citizens and emergency services on site. “