Vienna: Gunmen lodged firing rampage in at least six locations of Austria’s capital, killing two and injuring at least 14 people, in what the nation is calling a ‘repulsive terror’ attack.
The gunmen started the shooting spree from central Vienna’s main synagogue starting from 8:00 PM local time on Monday. Local police confirmed there were six perpetrators with rifles in six different locations, in what appears to be an orchestrated attack.
Eyewitnesses told Reuters news agency, the shooters wielded the attack using automatic rifles on slightly crowded streets as people were making the most of the last day before a nationwide curfew to stem COVID-19 spread.
Vienna’s Health Association spokesperson confirmed 15 people have been admitted to hospitals after they sustain critical injury from the gun rampage.
The attack comes in the second European city after three attacks by Islamist jihadists rocked France one-after-the-other over an allegedly blasphemous cartoon of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
Local police confirmed one of the attackers was killed but the operation was still active and urged the public to remain indoors and take shelter and avoid using public transport.
Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said the manhunt was on after the attack and the attackers were heavily armed, dangerous, and professionally prepared, local media reported.
“We have brought several special forces units together that are now searching for the presumed terrorists,” Nehammer said ORF broadcaster, adding: “I am therefore not limiting it to an area of Vienna because these are mobile perpetrators.”
Social media footage showed police actively searching the perpetrators. Viennese chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter, “we are experiencing difficult hours in our republic,” and ” “we will never be intimidated by terrorism and we will fight this attack with all means”.
Some social media footage circulating on social media showed people running haphazardly in the street as the shooter shot gunfire.
Condolences poured in from the EU member-states, UK, and the US. French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Our enemies must know with whom they are dealing. We will not retreat.”
Macron in the aftermath of the two deadly attacks in Paris and Nice has ramped up the nation’s military presence in cities like Paris to protect vulnerable sites like schools and religious places, at least it is said so.
The Vienna terror attacks come to the Austrian capital as a sudden shock since it was apparently spared from similar attacks wielded in other European cities, including France in the recent times.
Trump’s national security spokesperson Robert O’Brien said: “There is no justification for hatred and violence like this. We stand with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorism.”
“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,” British PM Boris Johnson said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, Austria’s immediate neighbor said their police have been checking random vehicles in the border crossing since chances are that the gunmen could head for crossing the border.