Austria in Shock After Vienna Shootings Linked to Islamic State

 (Bloomberg) -- Austrian police made a number of arrests in raids in Vienna Tuesday morning after a supporter of Islamic State shot dead at least three people in the center of the country’s capital Monday night.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said multiple addresses were raided and people linked to the shooter taken into custody but it was still not clear whether he acted alone. He declined to give details on the age or nationality of the gunman -- who was shot dead by police during the attack -- while investigations are ongoing and urged residents to stay in their homes. Another 15 people were injured, with authorities saying shots were fired at six different locations.

Austria in Shock After Vienna Shootings Linked to Islamic State

“This was an attack on our values and an attempt to weaken our democratic society or drive us apart,” Nehammer said. “We’re not going to let this happen. This will have consequences.”

Austria has been spared major deadly terrorist attacks like those that hit France, Spain or Germany in recent decades. The Vienna shootings come after a jihadist last month killed three people in a church on France’s Cote d’Azur, and a teacher was beheaded in Paris after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students during a discussion on the freedom of speech.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s tough response fueled anti-French protests in some Muslim countries and in nations across Europe with large Muslim communities.

Vienna, where about a third of the population has an immigrant background, was the scene of minor street tussles between supporters of Turkish and Kurdish organizations earlier this year. Vandalism of the interior of a church last week was blamed on Islamist activists.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who will address the nation at 11:30 a.m. in Vienna, expressed sympathy for the victims, the injured and their families. “We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely with all means,” he said. Kurz will discuss the attacks with ministers Tuesday morning, according to Austria’s APA news agency.

Austria in Shock After Vienna Shootings Linked to Islamic State

A spokesman for the Austrian Ministry of the Interior asked Vienna’s population to avoid the city center and “leave the house only when absolutely necessary,” urging people to work from home on Tuesday.

“Don’t go into the public space and stay at home, that’s where you are safest,” he said. Schools will remain open on Tuesday but attendance won’t be compulsory, the city said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a message of support, saying in a statement that Islamic terror is “our joint enemy” and the “fight against these murderers is our joint battle.”



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