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Shooting in Vienna ‘apparent terrorist attack’

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CNA Staff, Nov 2, 2020 / 02:22 pm MT (CNA).- This story is developing and will continue to be updated.

Exchanges of gunfire Monday night between police and unknown assailants in Vienna come after several days of apparently Islamist attacks and demonstrations against Catholics and Catholic churches in Austria.

Monday night’s gunfire took place in close proximity to the Stadttempel, Vienna’s main synagogue, although police have not said whether the synagogue was the target of an attempted terrorist attack.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna tweeted on Monday his prayers for the city and its emergency responders, and that “there will be no further bloodshed.”

Viennese police have reported injuries amid several exchanges of gunfire in the Austrian capital’s Inner Ring, and police have instructed residents to avoid the area.

Police say that shooting began at 8:00 pm, and was perpetrated by several attackers with rifles. There six different crime scenes, police say, and at least one person has been killed. A police officer has been severely injured, and one perpetrator was killed by police.

Austrian media have reported one apparently detonated explosive device in close proximity to the synagogue.

Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said Monday night that what occured was an “apparent terrorist attack.”

“Unfortunately there are also several injured, probably also dead.”

Several anti-Christian incidents have caused a stir in Austria, after last week’s terrorist attack by a man shouting Islamist phrases at a cathedral in France.

A 19-year-old Afghan was arrested Monday, and has confessed to striking a religious sister, 76, in the face on Saturday afternoon as she rode a bus in the Austrian city of Graz.

Between 30 and 50 young people also attacked a church in Vienna-Favoriten on Thursday evening. According to several media reports, the perpetrators were a group of young Turks. The attackers stormed into the parish church of St. Anton in Favoriten, shouted “Allahu Akbar,” and kicking pews and other furnishing in the church.

The Archdiocese of Vienna condemned the attack and called for “quick clarification” and “consequences.”

The Vienna State Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism was given video material by the church’s deputy pastor, which is currently being evaluated.

Another Afghan was arrested over the weekend while shouting “Islamic slogans” in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna police confirmed to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner.

Churches in Vienna are now being monitored more closely as part of the patrol service, police told CNA Deutsch.

Ed. note: While both translations have appeared in U.S. media reports, CNA has retranslated “augenscheinlich” as “apparent” rather than “obvious,” in consultation with German correspondents.

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