Not less than one killed in a suspected Reuters terrorist assault in Vienna

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© Reuters. The police blocked a street near Schwedenplatz after an exchange of fire in Vienna

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By Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters) – At least one person was killed in an exchange of fire in central Vienna late on Monday and several injured in what, according to the Austrian interior minister, was a terrorist attack near the central synagogue.

The Vienna police said on Twitter that there were several suspects and six different locations involved.

Much of downtown Vienna has been cordoned off and police said a major operation was underway.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer informed the Austrian ORF that the attack was probably carried out by several people and that all six locations were in the immediate vicinity of the street on which the central synagogue was located.

“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.”

An ambulance service spokesman said at least one person was killed and several injured. One of the suspects and a bystander were shot dead, and a police officer was among those injured, the local news agency APA said.

“Shots in the Inner City district – there are injuries – KEEP AWAY FROM all public places or public transport,” police said on Twitter.

The leader of the Jewish community, Oskar Deutsch, said on Twitter that it was not clear whether the Vienna synagogue and adjacent offices were the target of the attack and said they were closed at the time.

Videos were shared on social media of an armed man running down a cobblestone street yelling and yelling. Reuters was unable to review the videos immediately.

The Vienna police asked people not to share videos and photos via social media. “This endangers both the police and the civilian population,” they said on Twitter.

Two people were killed and 18 injured in an attack by two Palestinians on the same synagogue in 1981. In 1985, a Palestinian extremist group attacked Vienna Airport with hand grenades and assault rifles, killing three civilians.

Austria has been spared the large-scale attacks in Paris, Berlin and London in recent years.

In August, the authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian refugee who is suspected of attacking a Jewish community leader in the country’s second largest city, Graz. The leader was unharmed.

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