Behind the attack in Vienna on Monday evening is a radical Islamic motive, the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on Tuesday. The shoot-out perpetrator sympathised with the Islamic State terror movement (IS), according to Nehammer. The attack has cost the lives of an older man and an older woman, a young passerby and a waitress.
At least 15 wounded would be treated in the hospital. One of the perpetrators was shot by the police.
Among the wounded is a police officer. According to the police, there were six gunshots and several armed perpetrators. Police speak of up to four perpetrators, reports the Austrian newspaper Kurier.
Austrian press agency APA reports on the basis of a hospital spokesman. No information was given on the identity of the victims. The victims are treated in several hospitals mainly from gunshot wounds, but also cuts.
Our reporter Niels Kalkman is on the scene in Vienna:
Tuesday morning the police arrested several people in connection with the attack on Monday night. Several houses were also searched in Vienna and nearby Sankt Pölten. According to the Austrian newspaper Kurier, this is the housing of known people of the culprit.
According to the police, there may still be perpetrators on the run. Austrians must stay inside. The shooter who was killed was heavily armed.
Germany announced that it would be more stringent checks at the Austrian border. Austria and the Czech Republic intensified border controls shortly after the attack, as a preventive measure.
According to Florian Klenk, editor-in-chief of the Austrian magazine Falter, the assailant who was shot is the 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai.
He was born in Vienna in 2000, where he grew up. “His parents are from Northern Macedonia and have nothing to do with Islamism,” wrote Klenk Tuesday morning on Twitter.
Fejzulai would also have been known to the Federal Office against Terrorism because he planned to travel to Syria in July. “However, the authorities did not think he could plan a terrorist attack,” Klenk added.
According to Mayor Ludwig, the defendant was probably not wearing a real bomb belt, but a fake one. Research is currently being carried out on this. The man was armed with a gun and a machete. According to Ludwig, the shot perpetrator was “highly prepared.” The police are still investigating the identity of the man.
The shot offender sympathized with the terror movement Islamic State (IS), according to Nehammer. “We witnessed an attack yesterday by at least one Islamist terrorist,” said Nehammer. The minister said that in the interest of the investigation he could not provide further information on the identity of the killed offender. He added that the purpose of the attack was to weaken or divide Austria‘s democratic society.
In a special episode of the podcast ‘The land of Wierd Duk‘ ex-terrorist Jason Walters sounds the alarm bell. “If we do not tackle Muslim extremism now, Europe will switch to the extreme right.”
The Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer warned late Monday evening that there is a manhunt going on for the perpetrators, who are “heavily armed and dangerous”.
“We have brought together several special units looking for the alleged terrorists,” said Nehammer.
The Minister alluded to the fact that the perpetrators may have fled the capital and that they are ‘mobile‘. He insisted on staying inside until the authorities give the signal that it’s safe again on the streets.
The Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz has
the series of shooting incidents that took place in Vienna on Monday evening a “repulsive act of terror”. In addition, Kurz reported through his Twitter account that the military is taking care of some places in the Austrian capital, so that the police can fully focus on the manhunt for the fugitive perpetrators.
The Prime Minister said to the Austrian public broadcaster ORF that the threat is still unaffected. “It is certainly a terrorist attack,” says Kurz, who did not rule out an anti-Semitic motive.
According to the Prime Minister, there are 15 wounded. The wounded police officer would be out of danger by now.
The Viennese mayor Michael Ludwig said that it is still unclear how many perpetrators were involved in the attacks. Also about the motifbehind the shooting, Ludwig had “no verified knowledge.”
According to Ludwig, people in catering establishments were “randomly” shot by the perpetrators, especially the visitors who sat outside. Ludwig was not yet able to indicate whether there is a threat and called on the Viennese people to stay inside and keep their peace.
Initially, it seemed that the attack focused on the synagogue in the Seitenstettengasse. Rabbi Shlomo Hofmeister said Monday evening in a conversation with De Cceit: “It is very difficult to say what was happening, but I quickly knew that this was not an attack on the synagogue. That building is also the only one of the 21 synagogues in the city where no one is left after the evening prayer. At this hour it is an empty building.”
‘Find a hide’
The attack took place around 8:00 in the Seitenstettengasse. The police urged residents of Vienna to avoid public places and public transport in the city. “If you are on the street, find a hiding place!”
Eyewitnesses have heard at least fifty shots. A large area around the synagogue was deposited.
A spokesman for the Ministry says that the shooting spots are all near the street of the synagogue.
Police call for not to post videos and photos of the operation on social media, but to send them to them.
On a video you can see several people at the central Schwedenplatz who are fighting a gunfight with the police.
No higher threat level in the Netherlands
The threat level in the Netherlands is not increased after the attack in Vienna. There is no information to justify this, says National Coordinator Counter-Terrorism and Security Pieter-Jan Aalbersberg. The threat level is currently 3 out of 5, which means that a terrorist attack in the Netherlands is ‘imaginable’.
Aalbersberg reports on Twitter that his organization “monitors the situation.” “My condolences go to the Austrians who have been affected or are in uncertainty.”
Are you in Vienna right now? Then we would be happy to get in touch with you. Mail your story to our reporter Marouscha of the Group at m.van.de.groep [at] gmail.com.