At least four civilians have died in Vienna as a result of an attack on Monday night by “at least one Islamist terrorist,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said at a press conference.
The head of the Interior Ministry confirmed that the terrorist was shot down by agents of the Austrian security forces and pointed out that he was “a sympathizer of the Islamic State. Sources from the Ministry of Interior have confirmed to the Austrian news agency APA that several house searches have been carried out in connection with “the perpetrator” of the attack and that several people have been arrested.
The Austrian authorities have not clarified whether the terrorist killed had accomplices. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior, Harald Soros, explained to the same news agency that the authorities believe that there could be four people directly involved in the attack.
Nehammer has reported “numerous house searches” and “several arrests”, although he has not been able to specify whether the attack was the work of several people.
“Austria has been a strong democracy for 75 years, shaped by basic values such as tolerance and the rule of law. The attack has been against Austrian democratic values. We will not tolerate it,” Nehammer stressed.
The attack in Vienna took place on Monday night and was carried out in up to six points in the center of the Austrian capital, leaving a balance of three dead and more than a dozen injured, six of them seriously. On Tuesday, authorities confirmed the death of a woman who was seriously injured, bringing the total to four dead, two women and two men.
Christoph Mierau, spokesman for the Vienna Health Secretariat, reported that the situation of the 28-year-old police officer injured in the attack remains “critical” but “stable”, after he was shot several times while guarding a synagogue in the capital.
The Vienna Police reported that, at around 8pm, several shots were fired in the area of Seitenstettengasse, although there were five other points in the capital affected by the attack, the work of one or more attackers carrying long-range weapons.
The mayor of the city, Michael Ludwig, himself has revealed that the suspect who was killed was “very well prepared,” as evidenced by the semi-automatic assault rifle, pistol and machete he was carrying when he was neutralized. However, he pointed out that the explosives belt he had was a fake.
As they did throughout the night, the government and the Austrian police have asked citizens not to spread images and photographs of what happened, so as not to “confuse” or “misinform” the population, and has also insisted that they remain in their homes in order to facilitate the work of the authorities.