Policemen in central Vienna, where dozens of shots were fired on Nov. 2, 2020. (Photo/JTA-Joe Klamar-AFP via Getty Images)
Policemen in central Vienna, where dozens of shots were fired on Nov. 2, 2020. (Photo/JTA-Joe Klamar-AFP via Getty Images)

Four dead, 22 injured after shooting in Vienna near multiple synagogues

Updated 8:40 a.m. Nov. 3, 2020

A man opened fire in an area of Vienna with several synagogues, killing four and injuring 22, but the attack did not involve the Jewish institutions, the president of the city’s communal organization said.

Oskar Deutch, president of the Jewish Community in Vienna, on Monday told the Kurier news site that none of the city’s Jewish institutions appear to have been hit. But he did not know if they had been a target in the shooting and warned the city’s Jews to stay home.

One police officer was shot and is in critical condition.

The Austrian Ministry of the Interior said the incident may have been a terrorist attack. One perpetrator, a 20-year-old with Austrian and North Macedonian citizenship, is said to have shouted “Allah” before being killed at the scene, and there is no evidence of others, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said at a press conference late Monday.

The shooting happened on Schwedenplatz, a square located opposite the Carmelite Quarter, where several synagogues are located.

Shots were also fired in the Vienna Stadtpark, a main park in the city.

According to Nehammer, the shooter had tried to join the Islamic State in 2019 and was sentenced to 22 months in prison but was released early.

“There was an early release of a radicalized man,” Nehammer said.

It remained unclear into Tuesday if the shooter was attempting to attack one or more of the synagogues in the area.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told ORF.at’s TV broadcast, Zeit im Bild, that while it was clearly a “very professionally planned” terrorist attack, it was not clear whether the motivation was anti-Semitic.

He advised Vienna residents to monitor the news to see whether it was safe to go to work on Tuesday.

JTA

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