Vienna shooting: Five dead as Austrian minister says ‘at least one Islamist terrorist’ behind attack

At least 17 people have been injured in the shootout

Isobel Frodsham
Tuesday 03 November 2020 14:26
Five confirmed dead in Vienna shooting

Millions of Austrians are being urged to avoid Vienna or work from home as the manhunt continues for a suspected Islamist terrorist.

Five people died and at least 17 were injured in the atrocity, while a police officer remains in a critical condition. 

Gunfire broke out on Monday evening outside Vienna’s main synagogue near the Danube river, where witnesses described seeing men with guns shooting at crowds in bars and restaurants who were enjoying one last evening out before a coronavirus lockdown. 

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said two men and two woman had died from their injuries and Austrian media reported 17 were injured.

One assailant, who was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia who had a previous terrorism conviction, was also killed. 

He has been named as Kujtim Fejzulai and was sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 because he had tried to travel to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group. He was granted early release in December under juvenile law.

A manhunt is underway by officers as at least one “heavily armed and dangerous” person is believed to still be at large. 

Seven victims of the attack in Vienna are in a critical, life-threatening condition, Austrian news agency APA reported, citing a Health Association spokeswoman. The others are being treated for  gunshot wounds and cuts.

A police officer, 28, who was injured is no longer believed to be in a life-threatening condition.

A total of six locations in the city were targeted by the gunmen.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has urged people to stay at home and announced schools had suspended teaching for the foreseeable future. He added schools would stay open for parents who are unable to stay at home with their children.

Oskar Deutsch, the head of Vienna's Jewish community, said it “could not be confirmed nor ruled out” that the synagogue was a target in the attack but added that it was closed as evening prayers had already ended.

Damage is seen at the bars and restaurants in the city.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Mr Kurz said Austrians were “victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital.”

“It is now confirmed that yesterday's attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack," Mr Kurz said. “It was an attack out of hatred - hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.”

His government has ordered three days of official mourning, with flags on public buildings to be flown at half-staff until Thursday, APA reported. A minute of silence is also going to be held at noon on Tuesday.

Leaders from across the globe have condemned the attacks and offered their support to the Austrian people.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the incident ‘was clearly an Islamist terror attack’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “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.”

French President Emmanuel Macron described Europe as in “mourning” on Tuesday.

He added: “One of our own has been hit hard by Islamist terrorism. We think of the victims, their families, the shattered lives. France stands alongside Austria, ready to lend its support.”

President Trump urged for “evil attacks against innocent people” to stop.

“Our prayers are with the people of Vienna after yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “These evil attacks against innocent people must stop. The U.S. stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists, including radical Islamic terrorists.”

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