Terrorists struck Vienna the night before the city fell into a second coronavirus lockdown.
At least one person is dead and more than a dozen injured tonight in a series of attacks in six locations in the Austrian capital.
The Viennese pubs and restaurants had welcomed the guests for one last night in the city center before the coronavirus restrictions came into force.
A witness claimed to have seen an armed man open fire on people in a beer garden, while material posted on social media showed armed police walking through a restaurant looking for suspects.
The timing of the attack suggests that the armed men purposely took their last chance to strike while there were still many people in the venues before the city was evacuated to help fight the virus.
A night curfew is to be imposed in Vienna from Tuesday to the end of the month from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Cafes and restaurants can only sell take-away, while venues like gyms, museums, and theaters will have to close.
Schools, shops, and hairdressers remain open, however, and high school and university students have their classes entirely online.
Austria’s new coronavirus cases averaged 5,000 per day, with the pandemic in Austria worsening “almost explosively”, said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Several shooters reportedly opened fire around 8 p.m. in six locations downtown. According to official information, it is a suspected terrorist attack by armed men armed with rifles.
Local reports said that shots were fired tonight in a series of attacks near a synagogue, pub and hotel – although the targets were unclear.
Shots from Schwedenplatz in the city showed armed men opening fire.
Vienna police said the incident was still active and they are still warning people to seek refuge, stay away from public transport and stay out of public places.
Austrian newspaper die Cure spoke to a witness who claimed a rifleman opened fire on people sitting in a beer garden.
The shooter did not shoot towards the temple and opened fire on people sitting in a beer garden nearby, he said.
Witnesses told local media that they saw “multiple” perpetrators on the run, prompting officers to shut down public transport in and out of the city center when police launched a major operation.
A 53-year-old witness told the cure that he was dining in a restaurant when he heard the sound of gunshots.
The restaurant closed its doors and the patrons were on the floor, he said.
Local media initially reported that the attack took place near the synagogue in Vienna’s First District.
The head of Austria’s Jewish community, Oskar Deutsch, wrote on Twitter shortly after the incident that it was not clear whether the synagogue on Seitenstettengasse was a target and stated that it was closed at the time.
The Vienna police confirmed that one person was killed and several seriously injured at six crime scenes on Monday evening – including a police officer.
A suspect was shot dead by the police, added the troops.
Police said there are “several suspects armed with guns”.
Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described the shootings as a “hideous terrorist attack”.
He tweeted: “We are currently experiencing difficult times in our republic. I would like to thank all the emergency services who risk their lives, especially today for our safety.”
“Our police will take decisive action against the perpetrators of this terrible terrorist attack.
“I am glad that our police officers have already eliminated a perpetrator,” he continued.
“We will never be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks with all means.”
Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told the TV broadcaster ORF that the shooting was probably a terrorist attack.
“At the moment I can confirm that we believe this is an obvious terrorist attack,” he said.
“We believe that there are several perpetrators. Unfortunately there are also several injured, and probably also dead.”
The authorities gave no information about the identity of the attacker or the reason for the attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has witnessed two fatal knife attacks in Paris and Nice in the past few weeks, issued a statement expressing shock and sadness.
“This is our Europe,” he said. “Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with. We will not retreat. “