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Cyprus condemns Vienna attacks

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has strongly condemned the “heinous” terrorist attacks in central Vienna where four people were killed by gunmen.

“Devastated and deeply shocked by the terrorist attack in Vienna. We strongly condemn such heinous attacks. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the people of Vienna.

“We stand in solidarity with Austria,” said Anastasiades on his Twitter account.

Gunmen attacked six locations in central Vienna on Monday starting outside the main synagogue, killing four people and injuring at least 17 in what Austria called a “repulsive terror attack” while hunting one or more assailants on the loose.

The victims were in a city centre area busy with people in bars and restaurants, near Vienna’s central synagogue, but it is not yet clear if that was the target.

Witnesses described the men firing into crowds in bars with automatic rifles, as many people took advantage of the last evening before a nationwide curfew was introduced because of COVID-19.

Police shot and killed one assailant.

Police sealed off much of the historic centre of Vienna, urging the public to shelter in place.

Many sought refuge in bars and hotels, while public transport throughout the old town was shut down and police scoured the city.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides held a telephone conversation Monday night with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg, to express Nicosia’s “full solidarity” following the terrorist attack in Vienna.

Christodoulides said he was “horrified by the cowardly terrorist attack in Vienna” in a Foreign Ministry tweet to offer “sincere condolences for the loss of lives”.