New Delhi (NVI): At least four people were killed while several others injured after gunmen opened fire at multiple locations across central Vienna last evening. According to reports in foreign media, one gunman has been shot dead while a manhunt is underway for the second assailant who remains on the run.
The gunmen opened fire in at least six locations in central Vienna with automatic weapons, a CNN report said.
Austrian officials have described the incident as a “terror attack”. According to Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the attackers were “very well equipped” with automatic weapons and “professionally prepared.”
However, authorities have also discouraged any premature conclusions on the motive of the attack, CNN reported.
Earlier, the Vienna Police said that three people were killed, including two males and one female. One of the injured persons succumbed to the wounds later, taking the casualties to four. Among the 15 persons severely injured is an officer of the Vienna Police Department. According to the police, the assault is considered to have an Islamic motive.
The Vienna police said in a tweet that the assault was carried out by at least one suspect who was shot and killed by officers. The suspect was armed with an assault rifle, among other handguns.
The police further stated that the suspect was appearing to wear an explosive vest which turned out to be a dummy. Meanwhile, the suspect’s apartment in the city has been opened by the SWAT and searched.
Apart from that, the sighting and evaluation of the numerous video footage is underway.
The attacks took place at around 8 pm (local time) yesterday when people were celebrating hours before the start of a nationwide lockdown to combat another wave of Covid-19.
At the time of the deadly attack, the city’s bars and restaurants were packed, with people sitting outside due to the warm weather, enjoying their last few hours of freedom, the CNN report said.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was quoted as saying by CNN that “an anti-Semitic motive cannot be excluded” as the shooting took place near Vienna’s main synagogue, the Seitenstettengasse Temple, in a busy area packed with cafes and restaurants.
However, Oskar Deutsch, the head of Vienna’s Jewish community, said in a tweet that it was unclear whether the synagogue was a target, as it was closed at the time of the shooting.
Meanwhile, all Jewish institutions, including schools and kosher restaurants, will be closed today as a precaution, Oskar said.
The attacks have been condemned by world leaders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the attacks in Vienna. “Deeply shocked and saddened by the dastardly terror attacks in Vienna. India stands with Austria during this tragic time. My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” he said in a tweet.
Deeply shocked and saddened by the dastardly terror attacks in Vienna. India stands with Austria during this tragic time. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 3, 2020
Netizens and experts have compared the attack to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, in which terrorist Ajmal Kasab was involved.