World reacts with anger, solidarity after Vienna shootings

European leaders, Turkey, US condemn Vienna attacks as Austrian police continue manhunt for suspects.

Police cars and armed police officers patrol in central Vienna on November 2, 2020, following a shooting near a synagogue [Georg Hochmuth/ APA/ AFP]

Gunmen opened fire in six locations across central Vienna on Monday night, in an attack that left at least three dead – including one of the assailants – and some 15 people wounded.

The motive for the shootings, which began near the Austrian capital’s main synagogue, was not clear, but Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described the shootings as a “repulsive terror attack” and said the gunmen were “very well equipped with automatic weapons” and had “prepared professionally”.

Leaders in Europe and elsewhere took to social media to condemn the attack and express solidarity with Austria. Here is a round-up of their reactions.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, which has experienced two serious attacks in recent weeks, tweeted that “we French share the shock and sorrow of the Austrian people”.

“After France, it’s a friendly nation that has been attacked,” he added, referring to the killing on Thursday of three people by an attacker in the southern city of Nice and the beheading of a teacher outside his school in Paris several days before.

“This is our Europe,” he said. “Our enemies must know with whom they are dealing. We will not retreat.”

Women run away from the first district near the state opera, central Vienna on November 2, 2020, following a shooting near a synagogue [Joe Klamar /AFP]

The German foreign ministry called the attacks “terrifying and disturbing”.

“We don’t know the full extent of the terror yet, our thoughts are with the injured and victims at this difficult time,” the ministry said in a tweet. “We will not give way to hatred which is aimed at dividing our societies.”

Czech Republic
The Czech police said they were taking “preventive measures” at the border with Austria in connection with the Vienna attack.

“Police are carrying out random checks of vehicles and passengers on border crossings with Austria as a preventive measure in relation to the terror attack in Vienna,” the police tweeted.

United Kingdom
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, said he was “deeply shocked by the terrible attacks” in Vienna.

“We stand united with you against terror,” he said in a tweet.

European Union
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, called the attack a “cowardly act” that “violates life and our human values”.

“We stand with Austria,” he said in a tweet.

Giuseppe Conte, the president of Italy, also “strongly condemned” the shootings.

“There is no room for hatred and violence in our common European home,” he said on Twitter in Italian and German.

Police search a person at Mariahilferstrasse in central Vienna on November 2, 2020, following a shooting near a synagogue [Roland Schlager/ APA/ AFP]
Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, expressed solidarity in a tweet.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and with the Austrian government in dealing with this heinous act.”

“We are saddened to receive the news that there are dead and wounded as a result of the terrorist attack that took place in Vienna,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We strongly condemn this attack, extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish [a] speedy recovery to the wounded.

“As a country that has been fighting against all sorts of terrorism for decades, Turkey stands in solidarity with the Austrian people.”

United States
US President Donald Trump offered prayers and said the US condemned “yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe”.

Robert O’Brien, his national security adviser, said Americans were praying for the people of Vienna. “There is no justification for hatred and violence like this. We stand with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorism,” O’Brien said.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned what he called a “horrific terrorist attack,” adding, “We must all stand united against hate and violence.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted that he was “shocked by the horrific attacks in #Vienna” and had offered Kurz Athens’ “full solidarity”.

“Our thoughts are with the people in Vienna and the authorities dealing with the situation. Our hearts, with the victims and their loved ones,” Mitsotakis added.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences, calling the attack “horrific and heartbreaking”.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible this act of terrorism,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the people of Austria and everyone affected by this deplorable act.”

Narendra Modi also tweeted that he was “deeply shocked and saddened by the dastardly terror attacks in Vienna”.

He said India stands with Austria during this tragic time, and that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted his shock over the “awful terror attacks in Austria”.

Morrison said: “The situation remains fluid and details of the attack are still not clear,” and he offered the Austrian chancellor and the country’s people his thoughts and assurances.


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