Several assailants with rifles opened fire in the historic heart of the city, and the police killed one of them. There was no official word on a motive.
BERLIN — Attackers with rifles and handguns opened fire on the busy streets of central Vienna on Monday night, killing at least two people and wounding many more in what government officials quickly labeled a terrorist attack.
Interior Minister Karl Nehammer described the attackers as “heavily armed and dangerous,” but no group immediately made a claim of responsibility for the violence.
The police killed at least one of the gunmen, officials said, but at least one other remained at large.
The mayhem was unleashed on a mild autumn night as many Austrians ventured outside for a stroll or a last dinner out just hours before the country was to go on a new nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
The gunmen opened fire at perhaps half a dozen locations, all in the same area, the authorities said.
At least 15 people were being treated for injuries at hospitals, a spokesman for the hospital association said. Michael Ludwig, Vienna’s mayor, said at least seven people were seriously hurt. At least one of those shot was a police officer.
“We are going through a dark hour in our republic,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement. “Our police will move consequently against the perpetrators of this despicable terror attack.”
The attack, which began around 8 p.m., took place in Vienna’s Inner City district, a nightlife hub packed with restaurants and bars a short walk from the Danube. The police, who reported several “exchanges of shots,” mobilized a large response that shut down a segment of the city’s historical heart.
The shootings took place near the city’s main Jewish synagogue, the 19th-century Stadttempel. The temple was closed at the time, and it was not clear if it had been a target, but it was the scene of a terrorist attack in 1981 that killed two people and left dozens wounded.