Vienna shooting: Austria launches manhunt after deadly 'terror' attack

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media captionA large-scale security operation is ongoing

Austrian police are still searching for at least one suspect after a multiple gun attack in the capital, Vienna, that left two people dead.

About 14 other people have been wounded - some seriously - after several gunmen opened fire at six different locations in the city centre on Monday evening.

One suspect was shot dead by police and another arrested, officials said.

The shootings took place near Vienna's central synagogue but it is not yet clear if that was the target.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called it a "repulsive terror attack".

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said at least one "heavily armed and dangerous" attacker was still at large. He urged people to avoid central Vienna and told parents not to take their children to school on Tuesday.

The shootings happened just hours before Austria imposed new national restrictions to try to stem rising cases of coronavirus. Many people were out enjoying bars and restaurants before they closed at midnight.

European leaders strongly condemned the shooting. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "deeply shocked by the terrible attacks".

What do we know about the attack?

Police said the incident began at about 20:00 (19:00 GMT), near the Seitenstettengasse synagogue, when a heavily armed man opened fire on people outside cafes and restaurants.

Members of the special forces quickly arrived at the scene. One policeman suffered a gunshot wound before other officers shot the perpetrator, who was armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and a machete.

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image captionPolice increased security outside the interior ministry after the shooting

Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch tweeted that the synagogue was closed at the time the attack began. An officer guarding the building was among the wounded, newspaper Kronen Zeitung reported.

It was not immediately clear how many attackers took part in the shooting.

Footage posted on social media showed scenes of chaos as people ran through the streets with gunshots ringing out in the background.

One of the victims was killed at the scene of the shootings while a second - a woman - died later in hospital from her wounds, Mayor Michael Ludwig said.

Witness Chris Zhao was in a nearby restaurant when the shooting started.

He told the BBC: "We heard noises that sounded like firecrackers. We heard about 20 to 30 and we thought that to be actually gunfire. We saw the ambulances... lining up. There were victims. Sadly, we also saw a body lying down the street next to us."

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image captionGuests left the Vienna State Opera under the watch of armed police

A major anti-terror operation swung into action and police set up roadblocks around the city centre. Members of the public were told to stay away from the area and not to use public transport.

Police in the neighbouring Czech Republic said they were carrying out random checks on the border with Austria in case the gunman fled in that direction.

What reaction has there been?

In a post on Twitter, Mr Kurz said "we are experiencing difficult hours in our republic".

"Our police will act decisively against the perpetrators of this hideous terrorist attack. We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism," he said.

Austria had until now been spared the sort of attacks that have hit other European countries. Leaders across the region were quick to condemn the shootings, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that Europe must not "give up" in the face of attacks.

"We, the French people, share the shock and grief of the Austrian people, struck this evening by an attack in the heart of their capital, Vienna. This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with," he said.

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image captionPolice stopped and searched passers-by as they looks for the suspect

The UK prime minister also said the country's "thoughts are with the people of Austria - we stand united with you against terror" while Home Secretary Priti Patel said "we stand ready to support in any way we can".

US President Donald Trump - on the campaign trail ahead of Tuesday's election - described it as "yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe".

"These evil attacks against innocent people must stop. The US stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists," he tweeted.

His Democratic challenger Joe Biden condemned the "horrific terrorist attack", adding: "We must all stand united against hate and violence."

European Council President Charles Michel called it a cowardly act that violated life and human values.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the shooting "a heinous act" and expressed "solidarity" with Austria.

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