Officials in Vienna, Austria say that multiple gunmen opened fire in the city’s center on Monday evening, hours before the city went into lockdown over coronavirus fears. At least one person has been confirmed dead, and Austrian media is reporting that there are multiple casualties.
Several people are dead and a police officer is among the injured after exchanges of gunfire near a synagogue in Vienna.
The police officer who is seriously injured was shot, the APA news agency has said, citing Austria’s interior ministry.
Austrian state broadcaster ORF has said the police have confirmed several people are dead.
The interior ministry also said one suspect has been arrested, APA added.
The Austrian news agency also quoted the country’s interior ministry as saying that one attacker has been killed and another could be on the run.
The area in the central part of the city where the shooting took place is full of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as the location of the Seitenstettengasse synagogue, but according to The Guardian, a local leader in the city’s Jewish community says the synagogue was closed when the shooting began.
Earlier reports had suggested that the nearby Stadttempel synagogue could have been the target of the attack.
But Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community Vienna, said the synagogue on Seitenstettengasse and the office building at the same address were already closed at the time of the attack, and it was “unclear” if it was one of the targets of the attack.
Deutsch told the Kurier newspaper that no members of Vienna’s Jewish community were among those injured in the attack.
Rumors of attacks on a local Hilton hotel and a restaurant have yet to be confirmed, but police have confirmed that there were multiple targets in the attack.
ALERT! Terror attack underway in #Vienna #Austria: What we can confirm: * Around 8:00 p.m. shots from the Seitenstettengasse area * Several suspects w/long weapons (rifles) * 6 crime scenes * 1 fatality, several seriously injured, including a police officer * 1 shot by cops
— JJ Green (@NATSEC09) November 2, 2020
The Associated Press reports that Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister witnessed shots being fired at customers eating outside of sidewalk cafes on the last night before the city entered a new COVID-19 lockdown, saying that “at least 100 rounds” were fired outside of the rabbi’s apartment building.
There are unconfirmed videos circulating that appear to show four young men being held by police, but it’s unknown at this point if these are suspects in the attack or if authorities believe there may be more suspects at large.
So far there’s been no word on the motive or ideology behind the attack in Vienna either, but information will undoubtably be flowing in over the next few hours. We’ll update this story with more details as they becomes available.
The names of the victims have yet to be released, but police are reporting that four people in all were killed in the attack in Vienna, with another fifteen people wounded. At least one suspect was taken into custody; a 20-year old named Kujtim Fejzula who was sentenced to 22 months in prison last April after traveling to Syria in an attempt to join ISIS. Fejzula, who was released from custody in December of last year, is so far the only suspect in custody, though authorities say they continue to search for any possible accomplices.