Vienna on High Alert as Police Hunt for Gunmen After Austria Terror Attack

Police blocks a street near Schwedenplatz square after exchanges of gunfire in Vienna, Austria November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire in central Vienna on Monday evening, killing at least one person and injuring dozens, as people savored the final hours of freedom before Austria entered a nationwide Covid-19 lockdown at midnight.

Austrian leaders have called the shooting a terror attack, and police have launched a city-wide manhunt for at least one suspect.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said there was still a “very tense security situation,” as people across the city were asked to stay put and avoid returning home until the danger had been averted.

Speaking on Austrian public broadcaster ORF, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said several suspects had assault rifles. “We are still in battle against the would-be terrorists,” he said.

Gunfire erupted at about 8 p.m. in the busy shopping and dining district near Vienna’s main synagogue, Seitenstettengasse Temple, which was closed.

Vienna mayor Michael Ludwig said the gunmen appeared to shoot at random as people dined and drank outside due to the warm weather and virus concerns.

At least one person died in the shooting and 15 were injured, including a police officer, according to Austrian authorities. One gunman was shot dead by police.

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SOURCE: CNN, Denise Hruby, Frederik Pleitgen, Simon Cullen, Eliza Mackintosh and Jessie Yeung