11/03/2020, 11.36
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Vienna attack: Assassin killed was Islamic State sympathizer

The police are tracking down the other terrorists, so far responsible for the deaths of four people and the wounding of another 17. Unarmed civilians in six areas of the capital. Austrian authorities: Well armed and trained commando. In recent days, Islamic extremists had targeted France.

Vienna (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer says the attacker shot down by police was an Islamic State sympathizer. The minister was referring to one of the terrorists who launched multiple armed attacks in the centre of the Austrian capital last night.

The toll of the attacks is so far four dead and 17 injured, some seriously. Investigators are following the track of Islamic terrorism: the authorities are hunting for one or more perpetrators of the massacre.

The first gun attack took place around 8 pm near the synagogue of Seitenstettengasse. Witnesses speak of a number of gunmen who fired more than 100 rounds at customers of bars and restaurants; the attackers then shot unarmed civilians in five other areas of the city. The streets of Vienna were full at that time, as more stringent anti-Covid rules came into effect today.

According to the Austrian government, the bombers are part of a well-trained group, equipped with automatic weapons: the police also announced that the murdered terrorist was wearing a fake explosive belt. Security forces have been deployed in the city and the population has been invited to stay indoors.

Analysts note that if the presence of more attackers is confirmed, the modality of the attack recalls the one carried out in Mumbai in 2008 by a commando from Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic extremist formation based in Pakistan.

It is the first time that Austria has suffered an attack of this magnitude. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country will not allow itself to be intimidated by terrorists. Solidarity with Vienna was expressed by European leaders, US President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his challenger in today's US presidential elections.

In the past week France has been the target of jihadist fundamentalism. On 30 October, a radicalized Tunisian killed three people in the Notre Dame Cathedral of the Assumption in Nice. On 16 October, an 18-year-old of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher. According to the reconstructions, the reason for the murder was that the teacher, during a lesson on freedom of expression, showed some satirical cartoons on Muhammad in the classroom.

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