5 dead in Vienna shooting; attacker sympathized with ISIL

5 dead in Vienna shooting; attacker sympathized with ISIL

5 dead in Vienna shooting; attacker sympathized with ISIL

Austria's top security official says that five people have died, including an assailant, and 15 people were wounded in a shooting in the heart of Vienna hours before a coronavirus lockdown was to start.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told reporters on Nov. 3 that two men and two woman have died from their injuries in the attack late Monday. A suspected attacker, who was carrying an assault rifle and a fake suicide vest, was also shot and killed by police.

Nehammer said that initial investigations indicate the suspect who was killed had sympathized with the ISIL. Police searched his apartment was searched and other premises as well, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Authorities were still trying to determine whether further attackers may be on the run, he said. People in Vienna were urged to stay at home if possible on Nov. 3 and children did not have to go to school.

Among those injured in the attack was a police officer, said Nehammer. The 28-year-old officer was in the hospital but no longer in a life-threatening condition.

The shooting began shortly after 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Nov. 2 near Vienna's main synagogue as many people were enjoying a last night of open restaurants and bars before the start of a month-long coronavirus lockdown.

"We are victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital that is still ongoing,'' Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister said he saw at least one person shoot at people sitting outside at bars in the street below his window near the city's main synagogue.

"They were shooting at least 100 rounds just outside our building,'' Hofmeister said.

"All these bars have tables outside. This evening is the last evening before the lockdown,'' he added.

The attack drew swift condemnation and assurances of support from leaders around Europe.

Support pours in for Austria

French President Emmanuel Macron said: "We French share the shock and sorrow of the Austrian people following the attack in Vienna."    

"After France, it is a friendly nation that has been attacked. This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they're dealing with. We will concede nothing," he tweeted in both French and German.            

Germany vowed not to "give in to hate that is supposed to divide our societies".    

"Even if we can't yet foresee the extent of the terror, our thoughts are with the wounded and the victims in these difficult hours," the foreign ministry wrote on Twitter, calling the news from neighbouring Austria "horrifying and disturbing".            

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was "deeply shocked" by the night's events and that the "UK's thoughts are with the people of Austria - we stand united with you against terror".            

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said there was "no room for hatred and violence in our common European home", while his foreign minister Luigi Di Maio tweeted that "Europe must react".           

European Council chief Charles Michel said: "Europe strongly condemns this cowardly act that violates life and our human values. My thoughts are with the victims and the people of #Vienna in the wake of tonight's horrific attack. We stand with Austria."     

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she was "shocked and saddened", and that her "thoughts are with the families of the victims and the Austrian people".    

The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, said he felt "sadness and horror" and the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell called it "a cowardly act of violence and hate".            

In the Czech Republic, which neighbours Austria, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he was "horrified by the attack" and wanted to "express my solidarity to all people in Austria and my friend Sebastian Kurz".    

Czech police said they had started random checks on the country's border with Austria.     

"Police are carrying out random checks of vehicles and passengers on border crossings with Austria as a preventive measure in relation to the terror attack in Vienna," Czech police tweeted.    

Police also said they had stepped up "supervision over major Jewish facilities in the Czech Republic" in a preventive measure that "reflects developments not only in neighbouring Austria".            

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted that he was "shocked by the horrific attacks in #Vienna" and had offered Kurz Athens' "full solidarity".    

"Our thoughts are with the people in Vienna and the authorities dealing with the situation. Our hearts, with the victims and their loved ones," Mitsotakis added.            

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that his prayers were with all Austrians.     

"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," he said.            

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences, calling the attack "horrific and heartbreaking".

"We condemn in the strongest terms possible this act of terrorism," he said. "Our thoughts are with the people of Austria and everyone affected by this deplorable act."            

Narendra Modi also tweeted that he was "deeply shocked and saddened by the dastardly terror attacks in Vienna".

He said India stands with Austria during this tragic time, and that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.             

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted his shock over the "awful terror attacks in Austria".     

Morrison said: "The situation remains fluid and details of the attack are still not clear," and he offered the Austrian chancellor and the country's people his thoughts and assurances.