A gunman has been shot dead by police. Authorities are urging the public to stay inside while at least one suspect escapes, according to Interior Minister Carl Nehamar. It is not clear how many shooters he has.
Nehamar and Ryan Strian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called the incident a “terrorist attack.”
“Many of the suspects were armed with assault rifles,” Nehmer told Austrian public broadcaster ORF.
According to police, the shooting took place around 8 p.m.
The city’s bars and restaurants were crowded, with people sitting enjoying their last few hours of freedom, due to the hot weather as well as worries about the virus.
Then the attack began.
Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig said the gunmen had started random firing on people in the busy shopping and dining district near Vienna’s main synagogue, the Sittangtanges Temple.
Julia Hirman, who lives in Vienna, was drinking with a friend when the shooting began.
The restaurant staff told everyone to hide in the basement, she told CNN. Said on the phone. There he and others were told that gunmen were firing outside. Herman said he could neither see nor hear the attackers.
Later, the police came inside the restaurant restaurant rent and told the diner, “We have to stay inside and wait here,” he said. “This sounds incredible. When they said the shots were fired I didn’t think this was serious,” he said.
Reacting to the attack
Footage shared on social media showed people fleeing the scene as soon as the shooting began.
Authorities are still working to find out more about the culprits, but Kurz told the ORF that “the anti-Semitic motive cannot be ruled out” because of the proximity of the attack to the synagogue. The Rian Strian Army has been deployed to help protect buildings and property.
Oscar Deutsch, head of Vienna’s Jewish community, said in a tweet that it was not clear if the synagogue was the target, but it was closed at the time of the shooting.
“It was the hardest day for Austria in many years,” Nehamer said at a press conference in the early hours of Tuesday.
He said, “Those who attack one of us, attack all of us.”
Across Europe, leaders have condemned the shooting, which follows two terrorist attacks in France in recent weeks.
“After France, it is a friendly country that comes under attack,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter.
“Europe strongly condemns this cowardly act that violates life and our human values,” European Council President Charles Mitchell said on Twitter.
Other leaders have shared statements expressing their shock and sorrow, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
This is a developing story, with updates to follow
The report is contributed by Stephanie Halaz and Tim Lister.
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