Vienna Shooting Attack: Live Updates

A person who opened hearth in central Vienna on Monday night time whereas armed with an computerized rifle, a pistol and a machete and carrying a pretend explosive system was a 20-year-old Austrian citizen who had sought to journey to Syria to hitch the Islamic State, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer mentioned in a information briefing on Tuesday.

The rampage left 4 lifeless and 22 others wounded within the coronary heart of the Austrian capital earlier than the gunman was killed by the police 9 minutes after the assault started, Mr. Nehammer mentioned, including that the proof gathered up to now confirmed no indication that others had been concerned. The attacker, an Austrian who additionally has citizenship from North Macedonia, was recognized as Kujtim Fejzulai by officers and his former lawyer, Nikolaus Rast.

Barely 24 hours after the assault, the Islamic State claimed accountability for the assault, calling the shooter a “soldier of the caliphate” who had used an computerized weapon, pistol and knife to kill or wound “close to 30 Crusaders,” in line with a press release translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which screens on-line extremist messaging.

It was not clear from the Islamic State’s declaration whether or not it had helped plan the assault or if others had been concerned. But ISIS has used comparable language earlier than in asserting accountability for assaults by people appearing on their very own.

Mr. Nehammer mentioned that the suspect had been arrested as soon as earlier than after making an attempt to journey to Syria to hitch the Islamic State. The man was sentenced to 22 months in jail for that try however was launched early, elevating questions on how somebody on the radar of the authorities had managed to hold out such an assault.

Austrians vowed that the attacker wouldn’t divide their society or destroy their democracy. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria mentioned in an handle to the nation on Tuesday morning that the capturing was “definitely an Islamist terrorist attack,” which he referred to as “an attack out of hatred, hatred for our basic values.”

“We often see ourselves as a blessed island where violence and terror is only known from abroad,” he mentioned. “But the sad truth is: Even if we live in a generally safe country, we don’t live in a safe world.”

The Austrian authorities introduced a three-day interval of official mourning, starting on Tuesday, during which flags on public buildings will probably be lowered to half-staff. A minute’s silence was held at midday.

On Tuesday morning, Harald Sörös, an Interior Ministry spokesman, mentioned {that a} second girl had died of her accidents, bringing the variety of victims to 4. Twenty-two folks had been wounded, Mr. Nehammer later confirmed.

Monday’s violence comes after latest terror assaults in France — together with the beheading of a instructor and a knife assault at a church — which have each been linked to Islamist extremists. But Mr. Kurz warned towards making assumptions in regards to the Muslim group.

“This is no fight between Christians and Muslims, or between Austrians and migrants,” he mentioned. “This is a fight between civilization and barbarism.”

Ümit Vural, president of the Islamic Faith Community in Austria, condemned the “cowardly, revolting attack,” calling it “an attack on our Vienna” and “an attack on all of us.”

“Our democracy, our freedom and liberal order is stronger than violence and terror,” he mentioned.

An ecumenical memorial service for the victims was held Tuesday night in St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

What do we all know in regards to the gunman who was killed, and the others being detained?

The attacker was identified to the authorities and had beforehand been convicted of tried jihad and tried membership in a terrorist group, after he tried unsuccessfully to journey to Syria to hitch the Islamic State, Mr. Nehammer, the Austrian inside minister, mentioned Tuesday.

He was sentenced to 22 months in jail however was allowed out early, Mr. Nehammer mentioned.

He defended the choice to launch the younger, pointing to his good habits in jail. And he insisted the younger man had seemed to be “fully integrated” into society — although proof present in his condominium, together with a stockpile of munitions, after the assault advised a special story.

“There were no warning signs about his radicalization,” Mr. Nehammer mentioned, promising to assessment the justice system to attempt to make sure that the same mistake not be made once more.

Before setting out on his assault, the person posted {a photograph} of himself to social media. It confirmed him wielding a machete and a rifle with a message that “clearly indicated his sympathy for I.S.,” the minister mentioned, referring to the Islamic State.

The lawyer who represented the person in 2018 after he was caught making an attempt to hitch ISIS mentioned there had been no indication he was harmful. The lawyer, Nikolaus Rast, mentioned his shopper had deliberate to journey to Syria to hitch the extremist group with a buddy, however solely obtained so far as Turkey earlier than being arrested.

There was no suggestion that his dad and mom shared his views, and, actually, the person’s mom was the one who alerted the authorities when he went lacking, Mr. Rast mentioned.

Mr. Rast mentioned that his shopper’s regret after returning to Austria appeared real and that his habits in jail was such that he was launched after solely a few yr of his 22-month sentence. He took half in a particular de-radicalization program, the lawyer mentioned.

“He gave the impression of a young man who was searching for who he was,” Mr. Rast mentioned. “At no point did I have the impression that he was dangerous.”

At least 14 folks with hyperlinks to the gunman in Austria have been detained and are being questioned, and 18 areas are being searched, Mr. Nehammer mentioned. Several raids had been carried out, largely in Vienna, but in addition in St. Pölten, an hour west of the town, and in Linz, about 115 miles west of the capital.

The cobbled streets of the middle of Vienna, usually stuffed with vacationers, authorities staff and different residents, was largely empty on Tuesday, save for lots of of closely armed cops. School attendance was elective and residents had been inspired to remain house.

Church bells rang out at midday, as the town paused for a second to honor the victims. Among them, Austria’s largest church bell — the “Pummerin,” which hangs within the northern tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and is simply used for particular occasions — rang out.

The assault on Monday got here hours earlier than the nation entered a lockdown to fight the coronavirus, with many individuals having gathered outdoor in Vienna earlier than it got here into power. Hundreds of others had been trapped within the metropolis’s famed opera home and the nationwide theater, each of which had been evacuated by the police hours after the curtains had fallen.

“You could feel a lot of people wanted to get out one more time before lockdown starts,” mentioned Ameli Pietsch, 23, who was within the space an hour earlier than the assault. “It was a mild evening, and lots of people were outside.”

All of that modified in a second. People scrambled from the streets to shelter in eating places, and all trams and subways within the metropolis’s middle had been halted because the police urged residents to shelter in place.

The sound of sirens and helicopters crammed the night time air as folks struggled to soak up what was occurring.

Said Farnaz Alavi, 34, a human sources guide in Vienna, mentioned, “We are in shock.”

Mr. Kurz mentioned in his speech Tuesday morning that the gunman had killed 4 folks at shut vary — an older man, an older girl, a youthful man passing by and a waitress working in a restaurant.

But he additionally urged residents to keep in mind that “our enemy is never all those belonging to a religion, our enemy is never all the people that come from a particular country” however relatively “our enemy is extremists and terrorists.”

“They do not belong in our society,” he added.

The authorities are nonetheless piecing collectively the chain of occasions of Monday night time.

Mr. Nehammer and police mentioned investigators had been nonetheless reconstructing the occasions of Monday night time, making an attempt to find out how only one gunman, as they now imagine, may have been chargeable for the gunshots recorded in any respect six areas.

The first emergency calls reached police at 8 p.m. on Monday night time from the Seitenstettengasse, the place the town’s essential synagogue sits surrounded by bars, an space identified domestically because the “Bermuda Triangle.” There, the gunman opened hearth on a younger man on the street.

Around the nook, a lady ready tables at a bar within the Ruprechtsplatz, named for the town’s oldest church, was shot and killed. At 8:09 p.m. police fatally shot the gunman in the identical sq..

Police mentioned that one other sufferer was discovered on the Fleischmarkt — a number of minutes’ stroll from the Ruprechtsplatz — and a 3rd on a close-by open sq. beside the canal that runs by means of the town, the Franz-Josefs-Kai. A 28-year-old police officer was additionally shot there, however a gaggle of younger males dragged him to security and are credited with saving his life.

The fourth sufferer died of her accidents in a hospital and it was not instantly clear the place within the metropolis she was shot.

The metropolis has discovered itself within the cross hairs earlier than.

Austria — and Vienna particularly — has been a goal over time for terrorist assaults, typically with lethal outcomes. Religious and political tensions, typically with no clear connection to Austria, have led to sporadic violence.

In 1975, a gathering of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries within the metropolis was stormed by six males with submachine weapons. They killed three folks and took a minimum of 60 hostages.

A gaggle that claimed accountability cast the assault as “an act of political contestation and information” geared toward “the alliance between American imperialism and the capitulating reactionary forces in the Arab homeland.”

In 1981, Heinz Nittel, a pacesetter of the Austrian Socialist celebration and head of the Austria-Israel Friendship Society, was assassinated outdoors his house by an assailant related to a militant Palestinian group.

Two folks had been killed in 1981 when terrorists attacked a synagogue with grenades and firearms. Just after Christmas in 1985, panic engulfed the Vienna airport when three gunmen stormed the check-in lounge and opened hearth with submachine weapons, killing three and wounding dozens.

Witnesses on the time mentioned the assault started as an El Al Israel Airlines flight was boarding. The assault seemed to be coordinated with one other El Al check-in 10 minutes earlier in Rome.

From 1993 to 1997, a collection of mail bombs and different explosive units, together with one which wounded the mayor of Vienna, stoked fears of rising neo-Nazi terrorism within the nation. The man who was convicted within the assaults mentioned that his purpose had been to create a reunification of German-speaking areas.

Melissa Eddy, Christopher F. Schuetze and Katrin Bennhold reported from Berlin, and Megan Specia from London. Reporting was contributed by Anton Troianovski from Moscow; Aurelien Breeden from Paris; Livia Albeck-Ripka from Darwin, Australia; Joe Ritchie from Hong Kong; and Christoph Koettl, Farnaz Fassihi and Emmett Lindner from New York.


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