Austria was battling a brutal attack on Tuesday in which a gunman, described by officials as a sympathizer of ISIS and wearing a fake explosive device, Vienna’s heart caught fire on Monday nightCapital, killing at least four people.
As of Tuesday morning, around 1,000 police officers had been fired across the city to patrol the streets. Leaders addressed the nation, and an anxious public, largely confined to their homes amid a new coronovirus lockdown, waited for an answer.
But some details about the violence and its perpetrator remained unclear the night before.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in an address to the nation on Tuesday morning that the shooting was “definitely an Islamic terrorist attack,” which he called “an out of hatred, a hatred for our core values”.
“We often see ourselves as a blessed island where violence and terror are known only from abroad,” he said. “But the sad truth is: even though we generally live in a safe country, we do not live in a safe world.”
Police killed a gunman, whom Interior Minister Karl Nehmer described at a press conference on Tuesday morning as “sympathetic” to the Islamic State.
Police suggested that the man had acted alone, although officers had previously stated that there were several attackers.
The Austrian government announced a three-day official mourning starting on Tuesday, in which flags would be flown to half-staff at public buildings. One minute silence was observed in the afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Harald Sores, said a second woman was killed, taking the number of victims to four. Fourteen people were injured, six of them seriously.
Monday’s violence comes after the recent terrorist attacks in France – including Condemnation of a teacher And Knife attack on a church – Both of which are linked to Islamic extremists. But Mr. Kuraj warned against making assumptions about the Muslim community.
“This is not a fight between Christians and Muslims, or between Austrians and migrants,” he said. “It is a fight between civilization and barbarism.”
Mit Vural, president of the Islamic faith community in Austria, condemned the “cowardly, rebellious attack”, calling it “an attack on our Vienna” and “an attack on all of us”.
“Our democracy, our freedom and liberal order are stronger than violence and terror,” he said.
What do we know about the gunman who was killed, and the others arrested?
The attacker, who was killed, was a 20-year-old Vienna-born man whose parents had come from North Macedonia, a senior official confirmed, saying he was not authorized not to be named. The Austrian intelligence service apparently knew of him as he was one of about 90 Austrians who planned to join the Islamic State in Syria, and he was barred from traveling to the region.
He was sentenced to 22 months in prison last year for attempting to travel to Syria and join an extremist group. Most Islamists in Austria tried to travel to the region and they know that intelligence officials were radicalized sometime between 2014 and 2016 and many ethnicities were Bosnian, Kosovar, Albanian, Chechen or Kurdish.
On Tuesday morning, the Interior Minister, Karl Nehmer, described the gunman as “sympathetic” to an Islamic State, but did not disclose the man’s name. He said that police had searched his apartment.
According to a senior Austrian official, also in Vienna, an hour west of St. Paullen, at least 14 people were arrested on suspicion of shooting, linked to the attack, and 18 raids were conducted. In the city and Linz, about 10 miles west of Vienna towards the German border.
Russian Ambassador to Austria Dmitry Y. Hubinsky said that people from the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region of Russia were among those detained by Austrian authorities.
“There is information about migrants from the Muslim world and from various Balkan countries in the North Caucasus,” Husinsky said in an afternoon talk show broadcast on Russian state television on Tuesday. “” There are no further details at the moment. “
Russia has long struggled with Islamic extremism in Chechnya, is a resting republic in the North Caucasus, and many Chechens have migrated to Europe. 18-year-old attacker, who killed a school student in France last month before being shot by police. Was from Chechnya.
Mr. Kaczynski did not suggest that the Austrian attack was linked to the French attack and did not specify how he knew about the background of those detained. He said that Russia was in contact with Austrian law enforcement officials.
On Tuesday morning, police suggested that the Vienna attacker acted alone, though officials had previously said there were several attackers.
The scene from Vienna, a bustling capital, calmed down.
The streets of the center of Vienna, usually filled with tourists, government employees and other citizens, were largely empty on Tuesday, saving hundreds of heavy police officers. School attendance was optional and residents were encouraged to stay indoors.
Church bells started ringing at noon, as the city halted for a moment to honor the victims. Among them, Austria’s largest church bell – the “Pummerene”, which hangs in the northern tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and is used only for special events – was thrown out.
The attack occurred on Monday when the country was entered into lockdown to combat coronovirus, with many gathered outside in Vienna before coming into force. Hundreds of other people were stranded at the city’s famous Opera House and National Theater, both of whom were taken out by the police hours after curtains fell.
“You can feel that many people wanted to get out once more before the lockdown started,” said 23-year-old Amelie Piesch, who was in the area an hour before the attack. “It was a mild evening, and a lot of people were outside.”
All of that changed in an instant. People scrambled for shelter from the streets to the restaurants, and all trams and subways in the city center were stopped as police urged residents to take refuge in the place.
The sound of sirens and helicopters filled the night air as people struggled over what was happening.
“We are in shock,” said Farnaz Alvi, 34, an HR consultant in Vienna.
Mr. Kurz said in his speech Tuesday morning that the gunman had killed about four people – an older man, an older woman, a younger man who was passing by and a waitress working in a restaurant.
But he also urged citizens to remember that “our enemy never belongs to religion, our enemy never belongs to all people who come from a particular country” but also “Our enemy is extremists and terrorists is.”
“They are not in our society,” he said.
With the goal unclear, officials discouraged speculation.
The area where the shots were first reported is a tight net of streets filled with bars and pubs, known locally as the “Bermuda Triangle”. It is also home to the main temple of Vienna, the synagogue from the Seitenstettengesen. But the intended target or target of the attack was unclear.
President of the Jewish Religious Community in Austria, Oscar Deutsch said On twitter The initial shooting took place in the “immediate vicinity” of the temple, but it was closed at that time.
“It is not yet clear what the goal of the main temple was,” he said. Jewish institutions across the city were closed on Tuesday, Vienna’s Jewish community said on its website.
The police took to Twitter to exercise restraint.
“Please do not share any rumors, allegations, speculation or unconfirmed numbers of victims,” he said. “It doesn’t help at all! Stay inside, take refuge. Stay away from public places.”
After news of the attack surfaced, many people posted dramatic videos on social media that appeared after the shooting and.
One showed people helping an injured man, who lay outside a restaurant on Ruprechtsplatz and in a pool of blood less than a mile from the Austrian parliament. Many chairs were overturned in the restaurant’s outdoor area, as if left in a hurry.
Another video showed a man exiting a bar or restaurant, then firing a rifle twice down an alleyway. And a different video appeared to show the same gunman in the same street, shot a man up close with a long gun, then shot him twice more seconds later.
Vienna police pleaded with witnesses in a post on Twitter Not for posting videos And photos on social media, but instead of sending them to authorities.
The city has previously found itself in the cross hairs.
Austria – and Vienna in particular – has been a target over the years for terrorist attacks, often with fatal consequences. Religious and political tensions sometimes led to sporadic violence, with no clear connection to Austria.
In 1975, a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in the city was stormed with submachine cannons by six people. They killed three people and captured at least 60 hostages.
One group claimed the attack as “political imperialism and an act of information” aimed at “an alliance between American imperialism and reactionary forces in the Arab homeland.”
In 1981, Heinz Nietel, a leader of the Austrian Socialist Party and head of the Austrian-Israel Friendship Society, was murdered outside his home by an attacker linked to a militant Palestinian group.
Two people were killed in 1981 when terrorists attacked a synagogue with grenades and firearms. Just after Christmas in 1985, panic broke out at Vienna Airport when three gunmen barged into the check-in lounge and opened fire with gunfire, killing three and injuring dozens.
Witnesses said the attack began when Al Al Israel boarded an airline flight. The attack was coordinated with another El Al check-in 10 minutes earlier in Rome.
From 1993 to 1997, a series of mail bombs and other explosive devices, which injured the mayor of Vienna, stoked fears of growing neo-Nazi terrorism in the country. The man convicted in the attacks said he aimed to reunite the German-speaking regions.
Melissa Eddy, Christopher F. Schuetze and Caterin Benehold reported from Berlin, and Megan Specia from London. Anton Troyanovsky from Moscow, Aurelin Breeden from Paris, Darwin, Livia Albeck-Ripka from Australia, Joe Ritchie from Hong Kong and Christoph Koetel from New York, Fernaz Jassihi and Emmett Lindner.