A violent attack in Vienna’s city centre on Monday has been named an act of terror by Austrian authorities, with at least 15 people injured and three killed. A massive special police operation has been launched following the shooting.
A massive police investigation has been launched on what has been named by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz a “hideous terrorist attack” in Vienna’s city centre late Monday. Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer echoed Kurz’s words, describing the shootings as a terror act.
Here is what is known about the shooting in the Austrian capital so far.
The attack was started in the area of Schwedenplatz, in the city centre of Vienna, not far from a synagogue, with reports saying around 50 shots were fired.
Police confirmed that one of the shooters was killed, while authorities say there were several attackers. Austrian authorities stressed that the attackers were heavily armed and appeared to be well-trained.
The motives behind the attack are yet to be determined, while the Austrian Chancellor does not rule out the possibility of antisemitism being the reason of the attack, referring to the place where the shooting was initiated – a street near a synagogue.
As a police special operation is ongoing, citizens have been urged to stay in place and keep away from public areas and not use public transport.
The city centre remains cordoned off, as several hundred law enforcement officers take part in the special operation and helicopters patrol the skies above the Austrian capital. Kurz expressed hopes that the operation will only last for several more hours.
Security measures have been tightened across the entire country after the terror attack, including in border areas.
Many members of the international community, including those from Russia, Canada, Australia, the UK, France and many others, voiced their condemnation towards the Vienna attack, expressing condolences to the Austrian people.
Purported Jihadists released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, stating that the killings are “part of the bill” Austria owes for being part of the US-led coalition against Daesh, according to the SITE Intelligence Group – an American company that claims to monitor extremist information and activity.
The Vienna shooting is one of several terror attacks in Europe during recent weeks, as France saw several acts of terror, including an attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, and the killing of a teacher, Samuel Paty.