Austria hunts ‘at least one Islamist terrorist’ as four victims dead

Damage is seen at bars and restaurants in the city. A manhunt is underway in Vienna, Austria, to capture ‘at least one Islamist terrorist’ behind the Monday evening shootings which killed five people – four victims and one of the attackers.

Gunfire erupted last night outside Vienna’s main synagogue near the Danube river, where witnesses described seeing men with guns shooting at crowds in bars and restaurants who were enjoying one last evening out before a coronavirus lockdown.

Five people died and 17 people are believed to have been injured as a result of the attack in the Austrian capital.

Millions of people are now being urged to avoid Vienna and work from home as the search continues.

One assailant, who was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, who had a previous terrorism conviction, was also killed.

‘Europe mourns’: Emmanuel Macron shares support for Vienna days after France was attacked

The French president has posted a series of tweets in support of Austria’s capital city, on what is only four days after the French city of Nice was also attacked.

“Europe mourns. One of us was hit hard by Islamist terrorism,” Mr Macron said, before adding: “Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with. We won’t give in.”

Attacker shot dead was released from prison early after trying to join Isis

More details have been released on Kujtim Fejzulai, the assailant who was killed during the attack. The 20-year-old was reportedly released from prison early in December 2019.

Fejzulai was serving a 22-month sentence after being caught trying to illegally cross the Turkish border into Syria to join the militant group Isis.

Owing to rules that govern youth sentences in Austria, he was released from prison early – in December.

According to Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer, Fejzulai posted a picture on his Instagram account before the attack, which showed him to be in possession of what looks like the two weapons he used.

‘There was no choice but to help’: Witnesses lauded as heroes describe saving a policeman’s life 

Two men, Mikail Özen and Recep Gültekin, have told Viennese newspaper Kurier about the moment they risked their lives to help a policeman, who was bleeding out, on Monday night.

“We bent down and saw a policeman lying on the ground, he was bleeding to death. We looked at each other briefly and said: ‘Run’,” said Mr Özen, but they decided to stay and help.

“We knew immediately what to do, there was no other choice but to help.” The two men eventually carried the policeman to safety via an ambulance.

They are now being celebrated on social media, as locals celebrate their bravery. Mr Özen described the evening’s events in the following clip:

‘Cowardly terrorist attack’: Austrian president gives speech

Alexander Van der Bellen, Austria’s president, has given a speech. He described Monday as a “dark night” and called the shootings a “cowardly terrorist attack on the heart of our society”.

“Our tears are flowing,” Mr Van der Bellen said, before adding that the nation’s deepest sympathies went out to all those who were fighting for their lives, and to those who had been killed – as well as their families and loved ones.

The attack targeted “life in a liberal democracy, which terrorists clearly hate deeply”. And he said Austrians would “protect and defend our values”.

“Hatred can never be as strong as our fellowship in freedom, in democracy, in tolerance and love,” he said.

Assailant who died was 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia 

One of the five killed on Monday night was an assailant. He was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia who had a previous terrorism conviction.

He has been named as Kujtim Fejzulai and was sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 because he had tried to travel to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group. He was granted early release in December under juvenile law.

Four victims dead as Austrian minister says ‘heavily armed and dangerous’ man remains at large

A manhunt is underway by officers as at least one “heavily armed and dangerous” person is believed to still be at large.

Seven victims of the attack in Vienna are in a critical, life-threatening condition, Austrian news agency APA reported, citing a Health Association spokeswoman.

A police officer, 28, who was injured is no longer believed to be in a life-threatening condition.

A total of six locations in the city were targeted by the gunmen and it is not clear what the motive was for the attack.

The Austrian interior minister, Karl Nehammer, said two men and two woman had died from their injuries and Austrian media reported 17 were injured.

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