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4 killed after terror attack in Vienna, 1 gunman shot dead

Austrian police searching for any accomplices of slain gunman who was an ISIS supporter

VIENNA : Two people were arrested near Vienna yesterday, according to the Austrian news agency APA, as police hunted accomplices of a gunman or gunmen who killed four people in what the government called a terrorist attack in the Austrian capital.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said police had shot dead one gunman on Monday night but authorities are not sure if there was more than one attacker.

Slain gunman Kujtim Fejzulai, 22, was a convicted supporter of the Islamic State group and had dual Macedonian-Austrian nationality, the interior minister said yesterday.

He was carrying an automatic weapon, a handgun and a machete and was wearing a fake explosive belt, Mr Nehammer told the APA news agency.

He was an ISIS supporter and had been convicted of a terrorist offence in April last year. He was sentenced to 22 months but was released on parole in December.

Police confirmed yesterday that three civilians - two men and a woman - had been killed, and at least 15 others wounded, including a police officer. The national broadcaster ORF later said a fourth civilian, a woman, had died.

Seven victims of the attack are in a critical, life-threatening condition, APA reported.

APA quoted police as saying two arrests had been made in the nearby town of St Poelten. The Kurier news site reported that heavily armed police had searched two properties.

Witnesses had described crowds being fired on in bars with automatic rifles on Monday night, as many people took advantage of a last evening out before the start of a nationwide coronavirus curfew.

Six locations were attacked in central Vienna, starting outside the main synagogue, which was closed.

Witnesses said they saw a man shoot "like crazy" with what appeared to be an automatic weapon, before police arrived and opened fire.

"They looked like firecrackers, then we realised that they were gunshots," said one witness on public broadcaster ORF.

Waiter Jimmy Eroglu, 42 said: "At the beginning, I thought to myself that maybe we were making an American film or that they had drunk too much."

But then he heard shots. "The police came in and said, 'you all have to stay inside because there's probably a dead man there'."

Vienna's police repeatedly urged residents to shelter in place as the manhunt got underway, with helicopters sweeping the skies above the city and officers hastily erecting cordons on streets that only hours earlier were full of people enjoying a last drink before lockdown.

Mr Robert Schneider, who lives in central Vienna, left his house briefly and found two lasers trained on his chest.

"Hands up, take off your jacket," officers shouted at him, the 39-year-old told AFP.

A police spokesman said at least 1,000 officers were involved in the search.- REUTERS, AFP

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