At Least 2 Civilians, 1 Attacker Killed In Vienna As Police Launch Manhunt

Update 2100ET): Police in Vienna have finished their late-night press conference offering more definitive details from Monday's shooting.

Police confirmed that 2 civilians died, along with one attacker, who was killed. 15 others were wounded, seven critically. At least one police officer was wounded. The number of attackers wasn't immediately clear.

The army has been brought in to the city to guard key targets while police focus all of their energies on the manhunt.

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Update (1740ET): Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has officially labeled the incident in Vienna today as a "hideous terrorist attack". He added that the armed forces will be taking over from the police to allow police to focus on their anti-terror investigation.

However, some of the early details associated with the attack appear to have changed: Police say the location of the attack, near the Stadttempel synagogue, actually had nothing to do with the target: there was nobody in the synagogue at the time of the attack, and no Jews were hurt or killed.

Witnesses said the attacker randomly fired at people sitting outside in the city's bars and restaurants on Judengasse and Seitenstettengasse in central Vienna. "He did not aim at the Stadttempel [synagogue]," the witness said.

The Stadttempel synagogue was once target of a terror attack almost four decades ago, on Aug. 29 1981 two members of the Palestinian group Fatah, the Revolutionary Council, also known as ANO, tried to storm the synagogue building but were stopped at the gates by security forces. Two people were killed and 21 others injured in the attack.

In a series of tweets, Austrian President Sebastian Kurz thanked the emergency services who "risk their lives, especially today, for our safety" while adding that the military would temporarily assist the police in Vienna with the task of maintaining order, while police focus on the investigation.

"We are currently going through difficult times in our republic. I would like to thank all the emergency services who risk their lives, especially today for our safety. Our police will take decisive action against the perpetrators of this hideous terrorist attack.  I am glad that our police officers have already been able to eliminate a perpetrator. We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means.  So that the police can concentrate fully on the fight against terrorism, the federal government has decided that the armed forces will take over the property protection previously carried out by the police in Vienna.  The whole country is in thoughts with the victims, injured and their families, to whom I express my deepest condolences.  We thank the leaders of the European Union and our international partners for their sympathy and the expressions of solidarity."

-Sebastian Kurz

Among the 15 injured, 7 were listed as in critical condition. One of the injured is a police officer. Police originally responded to seven attackers armed with rifles who showed up at "six different shooting locations."

Meanwhile, reports of a massive death toll have been repudiated; only one citizen died in the attack, and one attacker, while others have apparently gotten away.

French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted his condolences in what was a gesture of solidarity and support, saying "We, the French, share the shock and sadness of the Austrians after an attack in Vienna. It is a friendly country that is under attack. This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with. We won’t give in to anything."

Source: the Guardian

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Update (1540ET): Austrian media now reporting seven dead, including one police officer, in Monday evening's attack near a synagogue in Vienna.

Media reports also said gunmen took hostages during the first shooting.

Another ahooting is reportedly underway at a Hilton hotel in Vienna, and hostages have reportedly been taken by terrorists at a third location.

All of this has the hint of coordination, though information is limited so far.

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A potential terror attack is currently underway in Vienna, where gunshots have been reported at a synagogue that stands as the epicenter of what remains of the city's Jewish population.

The attack occurred near Schwedenplatz, a main square near the synagogue where a large police deployment was underway.

Another video of one of the gunmen up close was uploaded to twitter.

The attacker has reportedly blown himself up with an explosive belt. Additional "perpetrators" are said to be on the run according to reports in a local newspaper. The number of suspects wasn't immediately clear. Police have asked Austrians to avoid the area in the city's First District where the attack took place.

Police were cordoning off the area around the Rotensturmstrasse. According to reports, one officer was shot and is in serious condition.

"It sounded like a blast," one eyewitness told the local press.

"Then you noticed that these were shots. Then you saw a person running down the Seitenstetten (who shot) wildly with an automatic weapon. He then turned down, at the (local) 'Roter Engel' from there in the direction of Schwedenplatz. He continued to shoot wildly there. Then the police came and fired. "

Eyewitnesses reported "at least 50 shots." There were pictures of at least one injured person who was bleeding on the floor in front of a bar and was being cared for.

The total number of casualties and deaths remains unclear, though one police officer is said to have been seriously wounded.