201103 Vienna
Police blocks a street near Schwedenplatz square after a shooting in Vienna, Austria November 2, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Vienna: Update:

The gunman shot dead in the Vienna attacks on Monday served a prison term for attempting to travel to Syria and join Daesh, the Austrian government said on Tuesday.

The interior ministry in Vienna confirmed a report by APA news agency saying the man had been sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019.

In December 2019, he had was released early due to his young age, according to the report, which cited Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. The 20-year-old was shot dead by police near St. Ruprecht's Church in Vienna, the report said.

Vienna attacker was 20 years old

Austria's interior minister says attacker killed in Vienna was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia.

Two people arrested in city of St Poelten, in Lower Austria.

7 in critical condition

Seven victims of the attack in Vienna are in a critical, life-threatening condition, Austrian news agency APA reported on Tuesday, citing a Health Association spokeswoman.

A total of 17 victims of the attack are being treated at several hospitals, mainly for gunshot wounds and cuts, the spokeswoman said. The 10 patients with minor injuries are in shock, she added.

Tightened controls at the border

Tightened controls at the border is now a "tactical priority" for the federal police force, a spokesman for German federal police said.

The fourth person who died in Monday's attacks in Vienna is a woman, ORF TV reported, bringing the death toll to two male and two female civilians in addition to the attacker who was shot dead.

Other Austrian media reported the death of a fourth civilian victim earlier on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Germany has stepped up checks at its border with Austria. Tightened controls at the border is now a "tactical priority" for the federal police force, a spokesman for German federal police said.

Vienna attacks: Homes searched, arrests made

Several homes have been searched and arrests made in connection with Monday's deadly attacks in Vienna, Austrian news agency APA reported on Tuesday, citing the Interior Ministry.

The searches on Tuesday morning were connected to the attacker who was killed, APA said. An Interior Ministry official told a news conference earlier on Tuesday that the attacker's home had been searched. An Interior Ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the APA report.

Death toll rises

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer described the assailant killed by police in an attack in central Vienna on Monday as a "terrorist". "We experienced an attack yesterday evening from at least one terrorist," he told a news conference, calling the man a Daesh sympathiser.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the incident rose to three - two men and one women, Vienna's police chief told a news conference on Tuesday..

Search on

Austrian Interior Ministry official says home of known attacker searched.

Initial report

Gunmen attacked six locations in central Vienna on Monday starting outside the main synagogue, killing two people and injuring at least 14 in what Austria called a "repulsive terror attack" while hunting one or more assailants on the loose.

Witnesses described the men firing into crowds in bars with automatic rifles, as many people took advantage of the last evening before a nationwide curfew was introduced because of COVID-19. Police shot and killed one assailant.

A woman wounded in an attack in central Vienna on Monday night has died of her injuries, bringing the civilian death toll to two, Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig told broadcaster ORF. Multiple gunmen opened fire and at least one attacker remained on the run after what Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described as a “repulsive terrorist attack”.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer warned people to stay away from the centre of the city, adding that border checks were being reinforced and that children would not be required to attend school on Tuesday. Nehammer said at the start of the news conference that “several” people had been killed. An official later clarified that two people were dead, a civilian and a suspected attacker. A second civilian death was later confirmed by Mayor Ludwig.

“We have brought several special forces units together that are now searching for the presumed terrorists. I am therefore not limiting it to an area of Vienna, because these are mobile perpetrators,” Nehammer told a news confrence. Adding "It is the hardest day for Austria in many years. We are dealing with a terror attack the severity of which, thank God, we have not experienced in Austria in many years."

Kurz said the army would protect sites in the capital so the police could focus on anti-terror operations. Speaking to ORF, he said the attackers “were very well equipped with automatic weapons” and had “prepared professionally”.Police said on Twitter that the injured included a police officer. Ludwig told ORF that 15 people were being treated in Vienna hospitals, and that seven were in a serious condition. Police also said they had shot dead one of the attackers.

Nehammer said all six locations in the attack were near the street housing the central synagogue. Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch said on Twitter it was not clear whether the Vienna synagogue and adjoining offices had been the target and said they were closed at the time.

Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister told London’s LBC radio he was living in the compound of the synagogue. “Upon hearing shots, we looked down (from) the windows and saw the gunmen shooting at the guests of the various bars and pubs,” he said. Adding “The gunmen were running around and shooting at least 100 rounds or even more in front of our building.”


"According to what we currently know, at least one perpetrator is still on the run," Nehammer said."We have brought several special forces units together that are now searching for the presumed terrorists. I am therefore not limiting it to an area of Vienna, because these are mobile perpetrators," Nehammer earlier told ORF.

Kurz said the army would protect sites in the capital so the police could focus on anti-terror operations. Speaking to ORF, he said the attackers "were very well equipped with automatic weapons" and had "prepared professionally".

Videos circulated on social media of a gunman running down a cobblestone street shooting and shouting. One showed a man gunning down a person outside what appeared to be a bar on the street housing the synagogue. Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.

Condolences poured in from around the world, with top officials from the European Union, France, Norway, Greece and the United States expressing their shock at the attacks. President Emmanuel Macron of France, which has seen two deadly knife attacks in Paris and Nice in recent weeks, issued a statement expressing shock and sorrow."This is our Europe," he said. "Our enemies must know with whom they are dealing. We will not retreat." French officials have ramped up security since the attacks in Paris and Nice. Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools, and ministers have warned that other Islamist militant attacks could take place.

Robert O'Brien, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, said Americans were praying for the people of Vienna. "There is no justification for hatred and violence like this. We stand with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorism" O'Brien said.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned what he called a "horrific terrorist attack," adding, "We must all stand united against hate and violence."

Attackers’ identity unknown

The attack happened hours before a partial lockdown was due to go into place due to the rising spread of the coronavirus, with restaurants, cafes and hotels shuttered and restrictions on movement at night. Authorities gave no indication of the identity of the assailants or reason for the attack.

“We really can’t say anything about the background yet,” Kurz told ORF. “Of course an anti-Semitic background cannot be ruled out.”

In 1981, two people were killed and 18 injured during an attack by two Palestinians at the same Vienna synagogue. In 1985, a Palestinian extremist group killed three civilians in an attack at the airport.

In recent years, Austria has been spared the sort of large-scale attacks seen in Paris, Berlin and London.

In August, authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of trying to attack a Jewish community leader in the country’s second city Graz. The leader was unhurt.

Support pours in for Austria after terror attack

Here are the main reactions so far to the shootings, which police said began at around 8pm (1900 GMT) and took place at six different locations:


"We are experiencing difficult hours in our republic," Chancellor Kurz said on Twitter.

"Our police will act decisively against the perpetrators of this repulsive terror attack. We will never be intimidated by terrorism and we will fight this attack with all means."


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".

Czech Republic 

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.


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."


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

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

'India stands with Austria', says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that he is "deeply shocked" and "saddened" by the dastardly terror attacks in Vienna, adding that India stands with the European country.

"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," PM Modi tweeted.

Trump says 'evil attacks' must stop

US President Donald Trump on Monday denounced "yet another vile act of terrorism" after gunmen went on a deadly shooting spree in central Vienna.

"The US stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists, including radical Islamic terrorists," Trump tweeted in response to the attacks that left at least two dead.

"These evil attacks against innocent people must stop," he wrote.