Attack in Austria: What happened during the attacks that killed at least four people in Vienna?

Steph Deschamps / November 3, 2020


A manhunt is underway in Vienna, after a series of attacks that left at least four people dead in the Austrian capital on Monday evening.

The assailant killed by police was "a sympathizer" of the jihadist group Daesh, Austria's interior minister announced on Tuesday.

The investigation is continuing to determine precisely the number of attackers and their modus operandi, after fifteen people were injured, some of whom are in serious condition.


There were people in the streets of Vienna on Monday evening. Before a month of confinement, music lovers enjoyed one last opera, the young people had a nightcap. Around 8 p.m., armed snipers suddenly struck the heart of the capital. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called the attack, which left at least four people dead, "terrorist. »


What happened ?


The drama took place in the heart of the Austrian capital, near an important synagogue and the Opera House. "At this stage, it is not possible to say whether the synagogue" was the target of the shooters, said Oskar Deutsch, president of the Vienna Israelite Community (IKG). In all, "six different places" were targeted by the shootings, according to the police.


Witnesses said they saw a man shoot "like crazy" with an automatic weapon. "It looked like firecrackers and then we realized it was gunshots," one of them said on public broadcaster ORF. One witness interviewed on television said he saw "a person running with an automatic weapon", another reporting "at least 50 shots ».


Astonishment immediately set in at neighborhood restaurants and bars, where patrons were told to stay indoors, lights off, while ambulance sirens howled outside. Helicopters flying over the scene, police lines, border controls, soldiers and police officers mobilized to find the fleeing attacker: the city of Vienna quickly turned into an entrenched zone, while Chancellor Kurz condemned "a disgusting terrorist attack »


How many victims are there to be counted?


Authorities say at least four people were killed in the attack. The first victim is a passer-by and the second is a woman who died of her injuries, according to statements to ORF from the mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, who also reported 15 people hospitalized, including seven in serious condition. No further information has yet been given on the other two victims.


Who are the attackers?


One of the attackers was shot dead by the police. The total number of attackers is not known, but one of them is still wanted. “At least one suspect is on the run,” said Austrian Home Secretary Karl Nehammer.


The assailant who was killed by the police was "a sympathizer" of the jihadist group Daesh, Austria's interior minister announced Tuesday morning. "The evidence gathered clearly shows that he was a radicalized person who felt close to Daesh," Karl Nehammer said at a press conference. Originally from North Macedonia and holder of Austrian nationality, he was sentenced in 2019 for attempting to reach Syria, he explained on Tuesday, indicating that the alleged assailant was 20 years old.


Investigators entered his home by forcing the door with explosives, he said, without wishing to give further details on the attacker's profile. "Heavily armed", he was equipped with an assault rifle and a belt of explosives which proved to be fictitious, according to the minister.


The interior minister called on residents to be careful and stay at home. “Stay at home! If you are outside, take refuge somewhere! Stay away from public places, do not use transport! », Launched the police on his Twitter account. Police and soldiers were mobilized to protect important buildings in the capital, and the children were exempted from school on Tuesday. “We will never be intimidated by terrorism and we will fight these attacks with all our means,” Chancellor Kurz said.

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