Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called Monday’s incidents in Vienna a “repulsive terrorist attack,” adding that Austria is experiencing “difficult moments.” Czech politicians, including Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, immediately expressed their condolences on social networks. Due to the continuing threat, Czech police have increased border controls and supervision of the most important Jewish facilities in the Czech Republic.
“We will never be intimidated by terrorism, and we will fight these attacks by all means,” Kurz wrote, adding that Austria is currently experiencing “difficult moments”. The chancellor also said that important places in the metropolis should be protected by the army so that the police could concentrate on counter-terrorism operations.
According to Kurz, the attacks in the city were “professionally prepared,” he told the Austrian station ORF. “The attackers were very well-equipped, they had automatic weapons, they were ready,” he said.
“I am deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in Vienna tonight. The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria — we stand united with you against terror,” wrote British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
I am deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in Vienna tonight. The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria – we stand united with you against terror.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 2, 2020
According to French President Emmanuel Macron, Europe “must not give up in the face of attacks”.
“We French share the shock and grief of the Austrian citizens who experienced an attack in the heart of their capital Vienna. After France, our friend is attacked. This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are facing,” he wrote on Twitter.
Czech politicians expressed solidarity immediately
Czech politicians also reacted to the event.
“The attack in Vienna is an attack on us all. We hope that the perpetrators will be caught soon and we are thinking of our Austrian friends in these difficult times,” said Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček in response to the attack.
The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš reacted similarly.
“I am appalled by the attack on the synagogue in Vienna and I want to express my solidarity with all the people in Austria and with my friend Sebastian Kurz,” he wrote.
Jsem zděšen z útoku na synagogu ve Vídni a chci vyjádřit solidaritu všem lidem v Rakousku a svému příteli @sebastiankurz.
— Andrej Babiš (@AndrejBabis) November 2, 2020
“The terrorist attack that took place in Vienna is a disgrace. It does not belong to the civilized world. I express my condolences to the Mayor of Vienna and all its inhabitants on behalf of Prague and the people of Prague. The event affects us all the more because Vienna is our partner city. It is close to us geographically and culturally,” wrote Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.
Czech police introduced border controls after the attack
After shooting in the center of Vienna, the Czech police increased their supervision of the most important Jewish facilities in the Czech Republic. Earlier, the Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček and the police informed that random border controls were introduced due to the incident.
“Terrifying news from Vienna, shooting in the center has resulted in several wounded, probably dead, according to the Austrian Ministry of the Interior. The Czech police are in contact with Austrian colleagues, and measures have been taken at border crossings with the Czech Republic,” Hamáček informed on Twitter.
Title image: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference behind plexiglass shields at the federal chancellery in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The Austrian government has moved to restrict freedom of movement for people, in an effort to slow the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)