Austria woke up to what seemed like a suspected terror attack on Monday as gunmen launched multiple assaults across six locations in central Vienna. The crippling scenario occurred at 8 p.m. near the Stadttempel synagogue, which marks the third attack in Europe in less than a week.

Local authorities and onlookers described the harrowing incident as a group of men armed with automatic rifles, who fired into the crowds at jam-packed bars as people were making the most of their time outdoors before the second lockdown was implemented.

Cops have successfully nabbed and killed one suspect, who has been identified as a sympathizer of the Islamic State terrorist group. At least 14 people have been seriously wounded, and three people were killed in the rampage. 

“It is the hardest day for Austria in many years. We are dealing with a terror attack the severity of which, thank God, we have not experienced in Austria in many years,” Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told a news conference. While the act certainly qualifies as a terror attack, a further probe is underway to get more insights into what led up to the ghastly incident.

The horrific shooting resulted in an abrupt sealing of the historic center of Vienna, compelling the public to seek shelter in bars and hotels, as the city center came to a screeching halt. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer on Tuesday urged people to stay home as cops scoured the city as part of investigations, during a press conference.

Nehammer asserted in the conference that while the incident has triggered panic across Austria, and is perceived as “an utterly inept attempt to weaken or divide our democratic society,”, the government wouldn’t take things lying down. “We will not let this happen,” he added. Franz Ruf sided with Nehammer’s stance and announced that stringent efforts will be taken to step up its border controls.

Cops and authorities have warned against spreading rumors online or sharing videos of the events on social media as it could deter the effectiveness of the ongoing operation. Mayor Michael Ludwig maintained that seven of those who were admitted to the hospital were seriously injured.  

World leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump, his political rival, and Former U.S. Vice-president  Joe Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and those heading France, Germany, Britain, and other European Union nations expressed solidarity with Austria on Monday, November 2.

A photo circulated on social media shows some of the suspects being arrested by police officers. A photo circulated on social media shows some of the suspects being arrested by police officers. dailymail.co.uk