VIENNA • Austrian police have arrested 14 people in raids linked to the deadly shooting rampage in Vienna and have found no evidence that a second shooter was involved, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.
"There have been 18 raids in Vienna and Lower Austria and 14 people have been detained," Mr Nehammer told a televised press conference yesterday.
He added that police believe Monday's shooting in central Vienna was carried out by a lone gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, a 20-year-old Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sympathiser who was killed by police on Monday night.
The man was wearing an "explosives belt" that turned out to be fake.
The video material evaluated by the police "does not at this time show any evidence of a second attacker", Mr Nehammer said.
Vienna police chief Gerhard Puerstl said at the same press conference that other people who have shown support for ISIS were under observation.
"The strengthened police presence will continue," he added.
Fejzulai, a dual Austrian and Macedonian national, was convicted of a terror offence in April last year for trying to travel to Syria. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison, but was freed on parole in December.
Mr Nehammer said Fejzulai had been on a de-radicalisation programme and had managed to secure an early release.
"The perpetrator managed to fool the justice system's de-radicalisation programme, to fool the people in it, and to get an early release through this," he said.
Asked whether the programme had failed, Mr Nehammer said there was a "fracture" in the system. While he said he did not want to "point fingers... we must look very closely at what can be improved".
Mr Nehammer repeated calls for the public to stay off the streets.
Four people - an elderly man and woman, a young passer-by and a waitress - were killed in the attack, and 22 people including a policeman were wounded, Mr Nehammer said.
Vienna's mayor said three people were still in critical condition.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, 34, who has been thrust into the forefront of Europe's battle with radical Islam, held an emergency meeting yesterday morning.
"This is not a struggle between Christians and Muslims, or between Austrians and migrants," Mr Kurz said in a televised speech to the nation.
"It's a struggle between the many who believe in peace and the few who seek war. A struggle between civilisation and barbarism."
Like French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Kurz has taken a hardline on radical Islamist ideology and the attack in the short term at least will probably vindicate those efforts.
"We will defend our values, our way of living and our democracy," Mr Kurz said. "We will hunt the perpetrators, their backers and their supporters, and will bring them to justice."
Witnesses to the attack had described crowds in bars being fired on with automatic rifles on Monday night, as many people took advantage of a last evening out before the start of a nationwide coronavirus curfew.
Six locations were attacked in central Vienna, starting outside the main synagogue, which was closed.
A witness, Vienna rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister, said he could not be certain whether there was more than one shooter.
"I saw one person. Later, I saw videos and I'm not sure it was the same one. I find it very difficult to identify someone in a fraction of a second," Mr Hofmeister told Reuters television. "At that moment, I also did not pay attention to what he looks like."
The government announced three days of national mourning and a minute's silence at noon.
APA news agency reported that multiple homes had been searched and arrests made, citing the Interior Ministry.
Police sealed off much of the historic centre of the city overnight, urging the public to take shelter wherever they were.
Many sought refuge in bars and hotels, while public transport in the area was shut down.
Mr Oskar Deutsch, head of Vienna's Jewish community, which has offices adjoining the synagogue on a narrow cobbled street dotted with bars, tweeted that it was not clear whether the synagogue or the offices had been a target.
Videos are circulating on social media of a gunman running down a cobbled street shooting and shouting.
One video shows a man gunning down a person outside what appeared to be a bar on the street where the synagogue is located.
The centre of Vienna was largely deserted yesterday, with many shops closed.
REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE