Vienna, Austria Police in Vienna are hunting at least one suspect after multiple gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire in the heart of the Austrian capital Monday evening, as people were enjoying the last night out at Vienna’s cafes and restaurants before a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. 

The Austrian capital remains on high alert following the incident, which saw gunmen open fire at six locations, killing at least three people and injuring 15, including a police officer. One attacker was also killed by the police.

Austria’s Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, speaking to ORF, advised residents to stay at home while police search for multiple suspects, who are likely armed and dangerous, he said.

The shooting has been described by the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as a “hideous terrorist attack.”

Armed forces have been deployed in Vienna to help secure the situation, as at least one gunman remains on the loose. “It is of course a very tense security situation,” Kurz said.

“So that the police can concentrate fully on the fight against terrorism, the federal government has decided that the armed forces will take over the property protection previously carried out by the police in Vienna with immediate effect,” Kurz said.

Authorities have warned that the gunmen are “heavily armed” and have asked the public to stay at home or in a safe place and follow the news.

“Whether it is possible to take up public life as normal tomorrow morning, that will very much depend on tonight and whether it is possible to catch or eliminate the suspects,” Kurz said.

Authorities have urged anyone with photos or videos from the shooting to avoid posting them to social media and instead share with police to help in the investigation.

Speaking on Austrian public broadcaster ORF, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said several suspects had assault rifles. “We are still in battle against the would-be terrorists,” he said.

In a press conference in the early hours of Tuesday, Nehammer said it was “the hardest day for Austria for many years,” adding that “those who attack one of us, attacks all of us.”

Across Europe, leaders have strongly condemned the shooting, which follows two terror attacks in France in recent weeks. “After France, it is a friendly country that is under attack,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter.

“This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know whom they are dealing with,” Macron said in a tweet. “We won’t give in to anything.”

“Europe strongly condemns this cowardly act that violates life and our human values,” the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *