Vienna shooting: What we know about ‘Islamist terror’ attack

3 weeks ago

Police officers stand guard at the site of a wreath laying ceremony after a gun attack in Vienna,


Four people have been killed and 22 others have been wounded in a gun attack in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

One suspect has been shot dead by police.

Here’s what we know so far about the attack.

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The incident began at about 20:00 (19:00 GMT) on Monday near the synagogue on Seitenstettengasse, police say, when a heavily armed man opened fire on people outside cafes and restaurants.

It came hours before Austria imposed new restrictions to try to stem rising cases of coronavirus, so many people were enjoying drinks and eating out before a looming midnight curfew.

Police say that based on the current status of the investigation, they are assuming that the attacker – who was wearing a fake suicide vest – was acting alone. Investigators are evaluating thousands of hours of video footage to try and establish exactly what happened.

Members of the special forces quickly arrived at the scene. One police officer was shot and injured before the perpetrator, who was armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and a machete, was shot dead at 20:09 local time.

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A major anti-terrorist operation then swung into action and police set up roadblocks around the city centre.

Meanwhile, police in the neighbouring Czech Republic said they were carrying out random checks on the border in case other suspects fled in that direction. Germany also stepped up checks at its borders.

Police have named six crime scenes in central Vienna: Seitenstettengasse and nearby Morzinplatz, Salzgries, Fleischmarkt, Bauernmarkt and Graben. The suspect was shot dead near St Rupert’s Church.

Three people are still in a critical condition in hospital, Vienna’s mayor told a press conference on Tuesday.

‘Islamist terrorist’

The gunman has since been identified as a 20-year-old “Islamist terrorist” who was released early from jail in December.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said he had been jailed for 22 months in April 2019 after trying to get to war-torn Syria to join Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The man was originally from North Macedonia and had a previous conviction for terrorist association, Mr Nehammer said. He had both Austrian and Macedonian citizenship.

Police have also searched the home of the dead gunman and seized video material.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the event was clearly an Islamist terrorist attack, and was an attack out of hatred.

He said the four victims were an elderly woman, an elderly man, a young male passer-by and a waitress.

One of the victims was a German woman, officials said on Tuesday.

“We now have the sad certainty that a German citizen was among the victims,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. “Our sympathies go out to her friends and loved ones.”

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BBC News – Europe


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