Austria: At least one killed, several wounded in Vienna shooting

Police confirm ‘several suspects armed with rifles’ carried out the attack at six locations in the Austrian capital.

Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported a large police operation in Schwedenplatz square [Joe Klamar/AFP]
Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported a large police operation in Schwedenplatz square [Joe Klamar/AFP]

An attack by multiple gunmen in a busy part of central Vienna has left at least one person dead and several others wounded, the Austrian capital’s police department said.

One attacker was also killed by police forces, in what officials described as a “terror attack”.

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The shooting began at about 8pm (19:00 GMT) on Monday when several suspects armed with rifles started opening fire in Seitenstettengasse, police said. Shots were fired in “six different locations”, it added.

A large police operation was still ongoing, and authorities urged residents to keep away from all public places and to not use public transport. A large area of central Vienna was cordoned off.

Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer, called the incident “an apparent terror attack”. He told public broadcaster ORF: “I can confirm that there were several injured and that there are probably also deaths among them.”

Among those wounded was a police officer.

Local media reported that the attack happened near Vienna’s main synagogue, but police have not confirmed if it was the target.

Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch said on Twitter it was not clear whether the synagogue and adjoining offices had been the target, adding that they were closed at the time.

The shooting happened hours before a coronavirus lockdown was due to come into effect in the country.

Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister said he saw at least one person fire shots at people sitting outside bars in the street below his window.

“They were shooting at least 100 rounds just outside our building,” he told The Associated Press news agency. “All these bars have tables outside. This evening is the last evening before the [coronavirus] lockdown,” he said.

Police block a street near Schwedenplatz after a shooting [Leonhard Foeger/Reuters]