Terror Attack in Vienna Leaves Several Dead, More Than a Dozen Injured Hours Before Country Entered Coronavirus Lockdown

Wreathes placed for the victims of the Vienna shooting

Four people have been killed and almost two dozen others are injured in what has been called a terror attack in Vienna, Austria hours before the country was set to enter a lockdown due to the coronavirus. 

The attack started just after 8 p.m. local time on Monday night near the city’s main synagogue, sparking a chaotic night carried out by at least one Islamic extremist with an automatic rifle and wearing a fake explosive vest, The Associated Press reported. The victims include two men and two women who were killed in the attack, a police officer who was shot and injured while trying to stop the attack, and 14 other people injured.

By 8:09 p.m, the suspect had been fatally shot by police. An Austrian-North Macedonian dual citizen, he had previously been sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 for trying to join the Islamic State in Syria, but had been granted early release in December under Austria’s juvenile law, the wire service noted.

As of Tuesday, seven people remained in the hospital with life-threatening conditions. 

“Yesterday’s attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, according to The AP. “It was an attack out of hatred — hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.”

Police have also made several other arrests and searched 15 homes, the country’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told the Austrian news agency APA, according to the AP.

The attack unfolded hours before Austria was set to enter a lockdown due to rising COVID-19 case numbers, which includes a nightly curfew as well as limiting restaurants and cafes to takeout only, the BBC reported. The new lockdown measures took effect on Tuesday and will be in place through November.

While some schools will remain open during the lockdown, kids did not have to go to school on Tuesday, and people were told to stay home if possible following the attack, according to the AP.

Austria isn’t alone in entering a second lockdown: Several European countries, including France, Germany, and the UK have reintroduced strict restrictions to fight rising coronavirus cases. 

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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