According to Austrian police, four people died in the terrorist attack in Vienna on Monday evening. Then there is the culprit who was shot by the police. What is known about the act from Tuesday morning and what is not:
How the act went in Vienna:
According to Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, the attack began at 8 p.m. near the Jewish synagogue in Vienna. At 8:09 pm a hitman was murdered by the police. The authorities currently assume that gunfights took place at six locations during this period. Seven police officers used their service weapons.
The attack had started in Vienna’s popular nightlife district, “Bermuda Triangle”, which was then well attended. There is also the temple, a Jewish synagogue. According to investigators, the man was armed with an assault rifle and a pistol and was also wearing a dummy explosives belt and a machete. Apparently he wanted to spread panic.
Eyewitnesses reported several perpetrators in the evening. From one day to the next, at least one other perpetrator has been searched for. According to the Austrian news agency Apa, the authorities are admitting up to four perpetrators.
What is known about the main culprit so far:
After the attack in Vienna, the police arrested two people in St. Pölten. As APA news agency reported, citing a police spokesman, there were also two house searches in the Lower Austrian capital. The “courier” reported on his website on Tuesday that it was the address of the alleged hitman. Nobody resisted.
The Austrian Minister of the Interior speaks of an Islamist attack. This became clear after the nighttime search of the apartment of the murdered perpetrator. The killer was a sympathizer of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia, Nehammer said Tuesday morning. He wouldn’t say if there was a confession.
The Interior Ministry confirmed a media report that the attacker was a 20-year-old Austrian with North Macedonian roots. He is of two nationalities and had a criminal record for membership of a terrorist organization. In April 2019, he was sentenced to 22 months in prison for wanting to travel to Syria to join IS. According to a media report, he had also tried to travel to Afghanistan.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the attack was clearly inspired by Islam. “It was an attack out of hatred, out of hatred for our fundamental values, out of hatred for our way of life, out of hatred for our democracy,” he said in a televised address to the population.
What happened next:
The police were deployed with 250 soldiers from two special forces and cordoned off the area around the crime scene. There were also several hundred police officers. Soldiers were also deployed to take over full property protection in Vienna to relieve the police. Controls have also been tightened at the borders in Austria.
Investigators look at the crime scene after the shooting in the city center. Photo: Ronald Zak / AP / dpa
In the evening and morning, the authorities asked the population in Vienna to stay at home because it could not be ruled out that one or more perpetrators were still on the run. So far there have been several arrests and 15 house searches. Forensics is currently at work at seven locations in Vienna.
What is known about injuries and deaths:
In the attack, four people were “killed in cold blood by the hit man at close range,” Kurz said. The four dead are an elderly man, an elderly woman, a young passer-by and a waitress.
As a result of the crime, authorities speak of 17 injured people being treated in different clinics in Vienna. Seven of them were seriously injured and in danger of death on Tuesday morning. Three people have since been released from hospital.
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One of the injured is a 28-year-old police officer. According to authorities, his condition was stable on Tuesday morning. The injured people currently in hospital have gunshot and stab wounds.
Two people died during and immediately after the attack. The death of another person became known that night and another person died in the hospital of their injuries. As of Tuesday morning, a total of four people were victims of the hit man, two of whom were women and two men. A dead woman was probably a waitress.
What’s next now?
On Tuesday morning there were 1,000 officials in Vienna. “We cannot rule out at the moment that there are other perpetrators,” said Nehammer. The relevant investigations were in full swing. So far, about 20,000 reports from the population have been received on a police server.
The attack in the Austrian capital is the worst attack in the country in decades. “We will not be intimidated by the terrorists and will defend ourselves with all our strength,” said Kurz. It is not about a dispute between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants. It’s about a struggle between civilization and barbarism. “And we will fight this battle with all determination.” (With dpa, Reuters)
Note: This article is continuously updated.