Selasa, 03 November 2020

Several arrested in connection with deadly shooting in Vienna - Sydney Morning Herald

Vienna Several people have been arrested after house searches in connection with the deadly shooting in Vienna, Austria's Interior Minister has said.

Police raided two apartments in St Poelten, the capital of the state of Lower Austria, one in the inner-city and the second near a local hospital, arresting several people.

Two people arrested were contacts of the alleged assailant from Vienna, police said.

Police would not comment further so as to not jeopardise the investigation, but it was expected there would be more raids and arrests in lower Austria throughout the morning.

Five people died, including an assailant, and 17 others were wounded in a shooting in the heart of Vienna hours before a coronavirus lockdown started, Austrian authorities said Tuesday.

Police patrol the scene near a deadly shooting in Vienna.

Police patrol the scene near a deadly shooting in Vienna.Credit:AP

More details have emerged of the 20-year-old attacker shot and killed by police during the incident.

He was born in Vienna, had Albanian heritage and was a dual citizen with Austrian and Kosovarian passports.

In April last year he was sentenced to 20 months in jail because he wanted to join the terror group Islamic State in Syria.

On December 5 he was released early because of his young age.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said two men and two women died from their injuries in the attack Monday evening.

Vienna’s hospital service said seven people were in life-threatening conditions on Tuesday, the Austrian news agency APA reported. In total, 17 people were being treated in hospitals with gunshot wounds and cuts.

Nehammer said that initial investigations indicated the dead suspect had sympathised with the Islamic State group.

“We experienced an attack last night by at least one Islamist terrorist,” Nehammer told reporters. He declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

Fifteen house searches had taken place and several people had been arrested, he added.

The attacker, he said, "was equipped with a fake explosive vest and an automatic rifle, a handgun and a machete to carry out this repugnant attack on innocent citizens”.

Authorities were still trying to determine whether further attackers might be on the run. People in Vienna were urged to stay at home if possible on Tuesday and children did not have to go to school. Some 1000 police officers were on duty in Vienna on Tuesday morning.

A still image from footage reportedly of one of the gunmen in Vienna, Austria.

A still image from footage reportedly of one of the gunmen in Vienna, Austria.

Among those wounded in the attack was a police officer, Nehammer said. The 28-year-old officer was in the hospital, but was no longer in a life-threatening condition.

The shooting began in the early evening on Monday near Vienna’s main synagogue as many people were enjoying a last night of open restaurants and bars before a month-long coronavirus lockdown, which started at midnight.

Vienna is on edge after a shooting in the city.

Vienna is on edge after a shooting in the city.Credit:AP

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that “we are victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital”.

On Austrian radio on Tuesday, he described the attack as clearly motivated by Islamism and was executed in hate towards Austria’s way of life. Kurz also spoke of a war between civilisations and barbarism.

“It was an attack of hate, of hate against our core values, hate against our way of life, hate against our democracy in which we are all equal in our rights and dignity,” he said.

“[The attack] will tragically be part of our history as a night in which some of our fellow men became victim of a brutal attack. An attack which in truth was meant against all of us, an attack at our free society. But it is clear we will not be intimidated by the terrorists.”

His government on Tuesday ordered three days of official mourning, with flags on public buildings to be flown at half-staff until Thursday, APA reported. A minute of silence was to be held at noon Tuesday.

Unverified footage posted on social media showed a gunman walking through the streets, apparently shooting at people at random, wounding several. It was unclear whether the person seen shooting was the same individual in each video.

Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister said he saw at least one person shoot at people sitting outside at bars in the street below his window near the city’s main synagogue.

“They were shooting at least 100 rounds just outside our building,” Hofmeister said. “All these bars have tables outside. This evening is the last evening before the lockdown.”

Authorities said residents have uploaded 20,000 videos of the attack to police.

The attack drew swift condemnation and assurances of support from leaders around Europe, including from French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has experienced three Islamist attacks in recent weeks, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has ordered three days of mourning.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has ordered three days of mourning.Credit:AP

“The Islamist terror is our common enemy,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted. “The battle against these murderers and their instigators is our common fight.”

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday night as he prepared for his final rally ahead of election day: “Our prayers are with the people of Vienna after yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe.”

Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, condemned the “terrorist attacks” in Vienna. It called on international institutions “to stand united” against terrorism and reject violence and hatred.

In the latest report on Austria’s constitutional protection, Islamic terror was described as “the biggest danger for Austria’s security”, according to a report by German newspaper Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

But at a presentation of the report, then-general director of public safety, Franz Lang, said the state of security was much more “relaxed” compared to other countries in Europe.

But in past years the recently retired director for constitutional defence and counterterrorism, Peter Gridling, mentioned several times that terror group IS continued to have connections in Austria, was active and had significant access to funds.

Austria’s military has provided 75 soldiers to guard key sites in Vienna, freeing up police to continue the investigation.

AP, Reuters

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2020-11-03 10:18:00Z

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