Antwerp tightens security in Jewish quarter after deadly Vienna shootout

Antwerp tightens security in Jewish quarter after deadly Vienna shootout
© Belga

Security has been tightened in Antwerp's Jewish quarter following a deadly shootout in Vienna which took place near a synagogue and has been described as a terror attack.

A spokesperson for Mayor Bart De Wever confirmed that additional security details had been deployed in the area near the train station inhabited by a tight-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

The decision comes after several gunmen opened fire in different locations in central Vienna on Monday evening in a suspected terror attack in which at least four people were killed and which  Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described as "repulsive."

"Our police will act decisively against the perpetrators of this repulsive terror attack," Kurz tweeted.

The shootout, which broke out at around 7:00 PM, led to a major manhunt with police saying they believed at least one assailant was still on the run. Another was shot dead by police.

The initial shooting began near a synagogue in the centre of the Austrian capital but, since it was closed at the time the attack began, it remains unclear whether it was a target.

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer described the dead attacker as a "radicalised person who felt close to [the Islamic State]" terror group, local media reports.

The attack took place just as the country was set to enter a new coronavirus lockdown and follows three other terror-related attacks in France, which prompted French authorities to declare the maximum terror threat level on the country.

Counter-terrorism authorities in Belgium said that they would not raise the threat alert level for the Jewish community in Belgium, which remains at level 3/4, while that for the rest of Belgium is still at 2/4.

Michael Freilich, representative of the Jewish community in Belgium, welcomed De Wever's decision to reinforce security for Antwerp's Jewish community, HN reports.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the updated death toll.

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