Austria’s top security official says that four people have died - including one assailant - after a shooting in the heart of Vienna late Monday.
Interior Minister Karl Nehammenr told reporters Tuesday that two men and a woman have died from their injuries. A suspected attacker, who was carrying an assault rifle and a fake suicide vest, was also shot and killed by police.
Nehammer said that initial investigations indicate that the suspect who was killed had sympathized with the Islamic State group.
“The attacker sympathized with the militant terrorist group ISIS,” Nehammer told reporters. He declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.
Authorities were still trying to determine whether further attackers may be on the run. People in Vienna have been urged to stay at home Tuesday.
Fifteen people were injured in the attack in the center of the capital, among them a police officer.
The shooting began shortly after 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) Monday near Vienna’s main synagogue as many people were enjoying a last night of open restaurants and bars before the start of a coronavirus lockdown.
“We are victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital that is still ongoing,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.
The attack drew swift condemnation and assurances of support from leaders around Europe.
How the attack unfolded
Police had cordoned off areas of the city as they searched for the suspect.
“Shots fired in the Inner City district - there are persons injured - KEEP AWAY from all public places or public transport,” the police said on Twitter.
Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch said on Twitter that it was not clear whether the Vienna synagogue and adjoining offices had been the target of the attack, and said they were closed at the time.
Videos circulated on social media of a gunman running down a cobblestone street shooting and shouting. Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.
Vienna police urged people not to share videos and photos via social media. “This jeopardizes police forces as well as the civilian population,” they said on Twitter.
In 1981, two people were killed and 18 injured during an attack by two Palestinians at the same synagogue. In 1985, a Palestinian extremist group attacked Vienna airport with hand grenades and attack rifles, killing three civilians.
In recent years, Austria has been spared the sort of large-scale attacks seen in Paris, Berlin and London.
In August, authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of trying to attack a Jewish community leader in the country’s second city Graz. The leader was unhurt.
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