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Rivlin, Netanyahu condemn ‘despicable’ Vienna terrorist attack

PM says ‘savagery of resurgent Islamist terrorism’ must be defeated, as world leaders send swift denunciations of deadly shooting

After a shooting armed police officers patrol on a street at the scene in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 3, 2020 (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
After a shooting armed police officers patrol on a street at the scene in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 3, 2020 (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Tuesday to the deadly terrorist attack in Vienna a day earlier, saying that Israel stands with Austria in the fight against terrorism.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Austria as we follow last night’s despicable terrorist attack in Vienna with concern,” Rivlin tweeted.

Netanyahu said in a tweet minutes later that “Israel condemns the brutal attack in Vienna and stands in total solidarity with Austria. Civilized peoples everywhere must unite to defeat the savagery of resurgent Islamist terrorism.”

Late Tuesday night, several gunmen opened fire at multiple locations across central Vienna, killing at least four people and wounding 15 more.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described the assault as a “repulsive terror attack” and said he could not rule out an anti-Semitic motive for the onslaught, given that the shooting began outside Vienna’s main synagogue. It was closed at the time.

The attack drew swift condemnation and assurances of support from leaders around Europe, including from French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has experienced three Islamist attacks in recent weeks.

Macron 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 schoolteacher by a suspected Islamist outside Paris several days before.

US President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night as he prepared for his final rally ahead of Election Day: “Our prayers are with the people of Vienna after yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe.”

“These evil attacks against innocent people must stop,” Trump added. “The US stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists, including radical Islamic terrorists,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the attack.

“The Islamist terror is our common enemy,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted. “The battle against these murderers and their instigators in our common fight.”

Austria’s military has provided 75 soldiers to guard key sites in Vienna, freeing up police to continue the investigation. Germany and Hungary have offered to send tactical police units to support their Austrian colleagues. Some 1,000 police officers were in Vienna on Tuesday morning.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “deeply shocked” and that the “UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria — we stand united with you against terror”

European Council chief Charles Michel said: “Europe strongly condemns this cowardly act that violates life and our human values. My thoughts are with the victims and the people of #Vienna in the wake of tonight’s horrific attack. We stand with Austria.”

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she was “shocked and saddened”, and that her “thoughts are with the families of the victims and the Austrian people.”

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell called it “a cowardly act of violence and hate.”

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