Police in the Austrian capital of Vienna launched a manhunt Monday evening after a group of “professional” and “heavily armed” gunmen struck across the city.
Update Tuesday — Vienna gunman was ISIS sympathiser and had recently been released from prison
Vienna Gunman Was ISIS Sympathiser, Convicted Terrorist Released Early from Prison https://t.co/0rHNBQGxz7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 3, 2020
Update 01:20 GMT — A second victim has died of gunshot wounds
Austrian newspaper OE24 has reported that a woman has died of gunshot wounds, increasing the total number of deaths as a result of the attack to two.
What we know so far — 0001 GMT
A terror attack struck the Austrian capital city of Vienna Monday evening, with several “very professional” and well-prepared “heavily armed” gunmen hitting across the downtown first district. Shots were fired at six distinct locations, leaving at least one member of the public dead and 15 wounded.
In addition to the known death toll, at least one terrorist was also shot dead on Monday night.
The attack is unusual in its scope — the vast majority of terror attacks on European soil are launched by ‘lone wolves’, most often radical Islamists. Monday night’s attack has officially been ongoing, according to the security services, at least five hours and an unknown number of terrorists remain at large. The gunmen have been at liberty so long, the search for them has now extended beyond Vienna itself and Austria’s northern neighbour the Czech Republic are searching cars at the border in case the attackers attempt to flee.
The motivation of the attack remains unclear. Initial reports stated the attack targeted a synagogue in the city, but the building was reportedly empty and locked when the attack began, and gunmen appear to have targeted revellers enjoying a last alcoholic drink before Austria went into a coronavirus lockdown.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: Kurz said: “We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means… The whole country is in thoughts with the victims, injured and their families, to whom I express my deepest condolences.”
Update 2340 GMT — “Definitely a terrorist attack”
OE24’s Wien24 reports new remarks from Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz which reveals some important facts. Monday’s attackers are “very professionally” prepared and well armed, he said, and that the event was “definitely a terrorist attack”.
Further, there are still terrorists at large and it isn’t even clear if Austrian citizens will be able to leave their houses on Tuesday as the hunt goes on. The exact motivation for the attack remains unconfirmed.
15 injured are being treated in Vienna hospitals.
Update 2255 GMT — Boris Johnson offers Britain’s “thoughts” to Austrians
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is “deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in Vienna tonight.”
He added that his country’s “thoughts” are with the Austrian people, rather than the more traditional “thoughts and prayers”, and that “we stand united with you against terror.”
I am deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in Vienna tonight. The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria – we stand united with you against terror.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 2, 2020
Update 2240 GMT — “Still active”… perpetrators “heavily armed and dangerous”
Vienna police continue to tweet out advice to residents and visitors, particularly to stay indoors and avoid public places. The latest such communication reveals the situation is “still active”, which may imply officers are not yet confident they have all attackers in custody.
The Austrian interior minister, Karl Nehammer, appears to confirm this, saying that the attack is ongoing with officers still searching for gunmen. The attack has now b’Heavily Armedeen active for approximately three and a half hours. Der Standard reports his comments that “We are still dealing with an ongoing terrorist attack” and that several attackers are still on the move. Worse still, those attackers are “heavily armed and dangerous”.
The minister appealed to Austrians to stay at home.
Coincidentally, Austria’s new coronavirus lockdown begins in 20 minutes time.
Austrian interior minister says there is an still an “ongoing terrorist situation in Vienna” Heavily armed, dangerous attackers he says. Tells people to stay indoors. Asks people with videos and photos to send them to security services and not to make public #Vienna #Wien
— Katya Adler (@BBCkatyaadler) November 2, 2020
Update 2235 GMT — “We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism”
Austrian chancellor (Prime Minister) Sebastian Kurz has spoken out, noting his pleasure at the police having killed one of the perpetrators. The conservative leader said the army would relieve the police of some duties, such as protecting government and sensitive buildings in Vienna, so officers could be released to counter-terrorism duties.
Kurz said: “We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means… The whole country is in thoughts with the victims, injured and their families, to whom I express my deepest condolences.”
The chancellor called Monday’s events a “disgusting terror attack”.
Ich bin froh, dass unsere Polizisten bereits einen Täter ausschalten konnten. Wir werden uns durch Terrorismus niemals einschüchtern lassen und diese Angriffe mit allen Mitteln entschieden bekämpfen.
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) November 2, 2020
Update 2230 GMT — France’s Macron extends condolences to Vienna
French President Emmanuel Macron has issued a response to the apparent terror attack in the Austrian capital.
“We, French, share the shock and sadness of the Austrians after an attack in Vienna. After France, it is a friendly country that is under attack,” said the French leader, referring to a recent radical Islamic terror attack on a church in Nice and the public beheading of a schoolteacher who had shown images of the Islamic prophet in class.
“This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with,” Macron declared.
“We won’t give in to anything.”
Wir, Franzosen, teilen den Schock und die Trauer von der Österreicher nach einer Angriff in Wien. Nach Frankreich ist es ein befreundetes Land, das angegriffen wird. Dies ist unser Europa. Unsere Feinde müssen wissen, mit wem sie es zu tun haben. Wir werden nichts nachgeben.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 2, 2020
Meanwhile, Michael Ludwig, Vienna’s left-wing mayor, has reacted to the apparent attack, saying he was “deeply shocked to receive information about the shooting in the inner city.”
“The pictures are shocking,” he said, adding that “A large-scale police operation is currently ongoing” and advising residents to “Please stay at home and keep calm.”
“If you are in the inner city area, stay indoors,” he warned.
Auch die Rettungskräfte sind weiterhin im Einsatz.
— Michael Ludwig (@BgmLudwig) November 2, 2020
Update 2135 GMT — Ambulance service, police confirm fatalities
That there are multiple dead in Vienna tonight has been confirmed for the first time, reports Kurier, by the Viennese ambulance service who said there were “several dead and injured”. The service could not be more specific than that, they said, as “we are still in the process of getting an overview.”
Vienna’s police have also now confirmed some facts, including that there are now six separate “crime scenes” in the city, although whether that means six individual attacks it unclear. Nevertheless, the force also confirmed there are “several” suspects armed with rifles and that one person had died.
In a positive development, police sources say previous claims about a hostage-taking situation reported in Austrian newspapers was a “social media bubble” and have not been confirmed.
CONFIRMED at the moment:
*08:00 pm: several shots fired, beginning at Seitenstettengasse
*several suspects armed with rifles
*six different shooting locations
* one deceaced person, several injured (1 officer included)
*1 suspect shot and killed by police officers #0211w
— POLIZEI WIEN (@LPDWien) November 2, 2020
Update 2100 GMT — Austrian interior minister speaks of a terror attack
Austria’s national public service broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) reports the remarks of the nation’s interior minister Karl Nehammer, who has said the police are treating today’s incident as a terrorist attack with several perpetrators. Further details from the interior minister are that one attacker is dead, one has been arrested, and one police officer was been shot with a rifle.
— Kronen Zeitung (@krone_at) November 2, 2020
Still no official confirmation on claimed fatalities, nor on claims swirling — and reported by several Austrian newspapers — that the attack is, in fact, still ongoing. Kronen Zeitung reports that hostages have been taken in the city, potentially confirming that this is not an unsophisticated lone-wolf type attack, but could be a more complex Mumbai-style attack.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 20 claims to ahve exclusive footage of the attack from security cameras.
— ערוץ 20 (@arutz20) November 2, 2020
Update 2040 GMT — Images from Vienna, reports of seven deaths
An Austrian newspaper is reporting fatalities for the first time, with national newspaper Kurier stating as many as seven, including a police officer, may have been killed tonight. In addition, the paper claims, there are four others seriously injured. No motive is yet known for Monday’s attack, but it is claimed the synagogue the shooting took place outside was not open at the time. COnsequently, it is not exactly clear whether the synagogue was the target of the attack.
Head of the Jewish community in Vienna says the shooting took place in the street where the city's main synagogue is located but it is not clear whether the place of worship was the target
— Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) November 2, 2020
Photography service Getty Images has several images of the police operation underway in downtown Vienna. Kronen Zeitung reports an eyewitness who stated “at least 50” shots were fired. Furthermore, the newspaper claims, there may be several perpetrators on the run still.
Update 2030 GMT — ‘several injured’, police order residents indoors
Police have confirmed there are several injured tonight in Vienna. Meanwhile, Israeli public broadcaster journalist Amichai Stein has shared footage alleging to show one of the attackers — out of a claimed three — running and shooting with a long gun.
3 suspects are said to have been involved in the attacks in Vienna https://t.co/WvViy6nR0T
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 2, 2020
The original story continues below…
Officers responded to an attack on a synagogue on the Seitenstettengasse in Vienna’s downtown first district Monday night. Best-selling Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports an officer who had been guarding the synagogue — common practice in European cities where antisemitism is on the rise — had been shot and is in critical condition.
Several Austrian newspapers also state that an assailant blew himself up at the scene of the attack, and others may be at large, although city police have not yet confirmed details beyond that a major incident operation is underway, shots had been fired, and there were injured people at the scene.
A social media video circulating and shared by Austrian mainstream media — confirmed to show Vienna’s Schwedenplatz by Breitbart London — shows police vehicles while gunshots can be heard in the background.
— The Jewish Voice (@JewishVoice) November 2, 2020
VIDEO: Latest emerging from Vienna. Reports, unconfirmed of attacks on multiple locations, at least one person killed and a manhunt to find multiple attackers pic.twitter.com/BB64c0qllN
— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenEuronews) November 2, 2020
This story is developing. More follows…