Terror attack in Vienna leaves four dead

By Ivana Kottasová, Nectar Gan, Jenni Marsh and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 5:16 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020
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5:16 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Vienna attacker was ISIS supporter with jail sentence

Austrian authorities have identified the perpetrator in Monday night’s attack as an Austrian-born 20-year-old named Fejzulai Kujtim, according to state news agency APA. 

Kujtim was from the Vienna suburb of Moedling.

Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said at a Tuesday news conference that the attacker had served time in prison after being convicted of trying to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS as a teenager.

He was sentenced in April 2019 to 22 months in jail, but freed eight months later on December 5, as he was considered a young adult and therefore eligible for conditional release. 

Speaking at the news conference, Nehammer said there will be further questions about the deradicalization program the attacker went through.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated what part of Austria Fejzulai Kujtim was from. He was from Moedling, a suburb of Vienna.

9:25 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Vienna police have arrested 14 people and searched 18 homes

Police officers stay in position during an operation in Vienna on November 3.
Police officers stay in position during an operation in Vienna on November 3. Ronald Zak/AP

Vienna Police President Gerhard Puerstl said 18 homes have been searched in connection with the attack in the Austrian capital on Monday night, and that 14 people have been taken into custody.

In a joint news conference with Puerstl on Tuesday, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said the attacker was heavily armed -- he was carrying a Kalashnikov assault weapon, another gun and a machete. Nehammer said there was no doubt that the attacker was an ISIS supporter.

8:49 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Happening now: Interior minister gives update

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer is giving an update to the media on last night's attack in Vienna.

He started by saying that the number of victim is higher than previously thought: four people have been killed and 22 are injured.

Nehammer also gave more information on the attacker, who was shot and killed by the police. The minister said the shooter was neutralized within nine minutes of the attack.

He was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia. Nehammer said the attacker had a previous criminal record and had "attempted affiliation" with the Islamic State.

8:00 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Pope calls for "peace and fraternity"

Pope Francis leads a general weekly audience in Vatican City on September 23.
Pope Francis leads a general weekly audience in Vatican City on September 23. Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis/Getty Images

Pope Francis has joined the foreign dignitaries renouncing the attack in Vienna. The head of the Catholic Church said he was praying for the victims and their families.

"Enough violence! Let us together strengthen peace and fraternity. Only love can silence hate," he said in a tweet.

7:57 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

The attack took place in six locations across Vienna

The deadly attack in Vienna on Monday unfolded in six locations across central Vienna, according to an Austrian law enforcement source speaking to journalists on Tuesday.

7:24 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Witness describes hearing "many shots"

Werner Beninger was having a dinner with his wife at a restaurant in central Vienna when the attack unfolded nearby last night.

"All of a sudden shots rang out from one direction and I thought at first that they were fireworks," he told CNN.

Then, I heard it also from other directions and the shots came closer and then I realised that this is a volley of shots."

Beninger said he heard "many" shots. "It must have been continuous fire," he added.

He said people fled into the garden of the restaurant, when special police unit -- known as WEGA -- arrived and told everyone to hide in the basement.

"There were roughly 50 people and we waited it out in the basement. We stayed there until 1:00 or 1:30 in the morning," Beninger said.

7:08 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Austria went into a new coronavirus lockdown at midnight

New coronavirus restrictions went into effect in Austria overnight, just hours after the deadly attack in Vienna.

A curfew is now in place between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Restaurants and cafes are only allowed to operate take-out and delivery services. Gyms are closed and cultural events are cancelled. Shops can remain open, but have to limit the number of people inside to make social distancing possible.

6:48 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

What we know about the Vienna terror attack

A police officer in Vienna stands near broken glass on November 3.
A police officer in Vienna stands near broken glass on November 3. Ronald Zak/AP

Authorities have released more information about Monday's deadly terror attack in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Here's what we know:

  • Four people have died in the attack: an elderly man, an elderly woman, a younger passerby and a waitress, according to the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
  • 14 people are injured, some severely. A police officer is among the injured.
  • The assault was carried out by at least one suspect who was shot and killed by police. Police is still investigating the possibility of another suspect being involved after witnesses from the scene reported there might have been more than one attacker. People in Vienna have been told to stay home if possible.
  • The assault is considered to have an "Islamistic motive," police said. At a press conference this morning, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said the gunman who was shot dead by police was "radicalized" and an ISIS sympathizer.
  • The suspect was "heavily armed" with at least one assault rifle, among other weapons. He was wearing what appeared to be an explosive vest but it turned out to be fake.
  • SWAT teams have searched the suspect's apartment.

7:03 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Attack "in the heart" of the society

Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen speaks in Vienna on November 3.
Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen speaks in Vienna on November 3. Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

The deadly attack in Vienna on Monday struck "in the heart" of the Austrian society, Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen said in a televised address on Tuesday.

"There was an attack that in its coldness was the worst in our history. We are thinking of all injured victims who are fighting for their lives," Van der Bellen said, adding the attack "was obviously to attack everybody in a free society."

In the Austrian political system, the president plays mostly a ceremonial role. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is the head of the government.