police raid Gunman who killed four in Vienna previously jailed over links to terrorism
AUSTRIAN police raided 18 properties and arrested 14 people after a gunman identified as a convicted jihadist killed four people in a rampage in the centre of Vienna.
The gunman, who was killed by police minutes after opening fire on crowded bars, had been released from jail less than a year ago.
An elderly man and woman, a young passer-by and a waitress were killed, and 22 people including a policeman were wounded in the attack.
Vienna's mayor said three people were still in critical condition.
In a televised address, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: "This is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants.
"No, this is a fight between the many people who believe in peace and the few who oppose it. It is a fight between civilisation and barbarism."
The attack followed shortly after deadly assaults by lone Islamist attackers in Nice and Paris, where some Muslims have been angered by publication of satirical caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron went to the Austrian Embassy to write a message of condolence that read: "In joy and in sorrow, we will remain united."
Both he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered their support.
The centre of Vienna was deserted yesterday, with many shops closed, though Austrian authorities played down earlier suggestions that other shooters might still be on the loose.
Footage of the incident filmed on numerous mobile phones showed no evidence of a second gunman, although the possibility had not been completely ruled out.
The attacker, an Austrian-born son of immigrants from North Macedonia, was wearing an explosive belt that turned out to be fake.
Vienna's police chief said he was killed nine minutes after starting his rampage.
He was identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, who had been sentenced to 22 months in jail in April last year for attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State, but was released early last December.
Fejzulai had posted a photo on social media before the attack, showing himself with weapons.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Officials said the perpetrator had been armed with an automatic rifle, a handgun and a machete.
Witnesses described crowds being fired at in bars as people enjoyed a last evening out before the start of a nationwide coronavirus curfew.
Videos posted on social media showed a gunman running down a cobbled street shooting and yelling.
One showed a man gunning down a person outside a cocktail bar on the street where the synagogue is located, then returning to shoot the same person again.
Police sealed off much of the city-centre overnight, urging the public to shelter where they were.
Many sought refuge in bars and hotels, while public transport in the area was shut down.
The shooting took place as the Vienna State Opera was holding its final concert before the lockdown. Musicians played on, despite news of the violence outside: "If people weren't allowed to leave anyway, why should we stop early?" a spokeswoman said.
After the concert, with the doors still locked, four members of the orchestra came back into the pit to play a Haydn string quartet for those who were still in their seats.
Vienna had until now been spared the kind of deadly Islamist militant attacks that have struck Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels, among others, in recent years.
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