Several people carried out a terrorist attack in central Vienna on Monday, in which a number of people were killed and many people were injured, the Vienna police reported today.
“Shots fired in the Inner City district – there are persons injured – KEEP AWAY from all public places or public Transport,” the police wrote on Twitter, asking people not to share any photos or videos.
The attackers targeted the area around the Stadttempel, Vienna’s Jewish synagogue dating back to the 1820s, on Monday evening. It was unclear whether the synagogue itself or the adjacent community offices were targeted, as they were closed at the time.
Large special forces units were working at the site. Austria’s Kronen Zeitung reports that an attacker detonated himself using an explosive device.
Local media have reported multiple casualties, including a police officer who was injured in a gun battle with the attackers. There are unconfirmed reports of seven people killed.
Videos circulating on social media showed a gunman dressed in white walking along a cobblestone-covered street and shooting. More footage showed an exchange of fire on Schwedenplatz, a nearby square along the Danube River.
The incident comes just days after Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his government would fight against “political Islam,” in response to a group of 30-50 Turkish teenagers storming through the Catholic Church of St. Anton von Padua, shouting “Allahu akbar.”
In France, three people were brutally attacked inside a cathedral in Nice last week, following a similar statement by President Emmanuel Macron about “Islamism” threatening the secular French republic. Two weeks ago, a French teacher was beheaded in a suburb north of Paris after his lesson on freedom of speech.