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Russians Among Those Detained in Vienna Attack, Ambassador Says

Authorities in Austria have detained suspects from southwestern Russia’s North Caucasus region as part of an investigation into the deadly shooting rampage in Vienna, Russia’s ambassador in Vienna said Tuesday.

The only known gunman in Monday evening’s shooting spree across Vienna that killed four people and wounded 22 was an Islamic State group supporter, Austria’s interior ministry has said. A total of 14 suspects have been detained so far, the ministry said.

“There’s information that those detained include migrants from the Balkan countries, the Islamic world and the North Caucasus,” Russia’s Ambassador Dmitry Lyubinskyi told Russian state television.

The North Caucasus region includes the Muslim-majority Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, among others. 

“There are no further details at the moment,” Lyubinskyi told the Rossia state broadcaster’s “60 Minutes” news talk show. 

The diplomat said that no Russian nationals were known to have been hurt in the attacks.

One of the suspected killers, who was shot dead by police after Monday’s attack, was a 20-year-old Islamic State group sympathiser with dual Austrian and Macedonian nationality, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said. He had been convicted of a terror offence in April last year for trying to travel to Syria, Nehammer told the APA news agency.

According to Nehammer, police are searching for more possible assailants who may still be at large, and several neighboring countries have stepped up border checks.

The shooting erupted just hours before Austria was to re-impose a coronavirus lockdown, with people out in bars and restaurants enjoying a final night out.

Austria had until now been spared the sort of major attacks that have hit other European countries, but Monday’s shooting followed a spate of Islamist attacks in France and it triggered an outpouring of solidarity from world leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Vienna shooting a “cruel and cynical” crime in a condolences telegram to the Austrian leadership.

AFP contributed reporting.

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