Vienna shootings: Three men praised for helping emergency services

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BBC.COM-image copyrightReuters

image captionSecurity remained high in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon

 Three men have been hailed for helping a police officer and an elderly woman during Monday’s attack in Vienna.

Recep Gultekin was shot in the leg while aiding the woman with his friend, Mikail Özen.

They also carried an injured police officer to safety after a Palestinian man, Osama Joda, gave him first aid.

Five people, including an attacker, were killed and another 22 wounded as firing broke out opposite a synagogue in the Austrian capital.

The man accused of carrying out the attack was a 20-year-old “Islamist terrorist” who was released early from jail in December, and shot dead by police during the incident.

Mr Joda, 23, was working at a nearby McDonalds, and told local newspaper Kurier that he was carrying goods into the restaurant when the attacker began shooting at passers-by.

image copyrightReuters

image captionSecurity remained high in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon

When two police officers came to help, the attacker opened fire on them and one was struck by a bullet.

“I pulled him behind the concrete bench and tried to stop the bleeding,” said Mr Joda. “There was blood everywhere.”

The perpetrator fled after more police arrived at the scene, and Mr Joda then helped to drag the officer to a nearby ambulance. He was assisted in this by Mr Özen and Mr Gultekin, who are both of Turkish descent.

Earlier Mr Gultekin, 21, had carried the injured woman to a restaurant.

Mr Özen, a mixed martial artist and personal trainer, told Kurier that they then noticed the policeman bleeding on the floor after gunfire erupted.

“We knew immediately what to do, there was no choice but to help,” said the 25-year-old. “Austria is our home. We would help at any time.”

Police have not confirmed details of the incident, but Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told local media that the officer was taken to safety by Austrians with a migrant background.

“No terrorist attack will succeed in tearing up or dividing our society,” he added.

Turkey’s ambassador to Austria, Ozan Ceyhun, also hosted Mr Özen and Mr Gultekin at the Turkish embassy and praised their conduct.

Security has been tight in Vienna as police launched a manhunt for further attackers, and 14 people have been arrested after a series of police raids.

But authorities believe the gunman killed by police may have acted alone.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the four who died were an elderly woman, an elderly man, a young male passer-by and a waitress.

It was clearly an attack driven by “hatred of our way of life, our democracy”, the chancellor said.

 

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