Vienna Shooting: Police investigates as the attacker appears to have links with ISIS

Vienna

On Tuesday, five people died, including the attacker, and 17 others were injured in a shooting in Vienna hours before a Covid lockdown began, Austrian authorities stated.

Austrian police are conducting an investigation on whether the attacker was a member of a wider network and if the assault could have been forestalled. The 20-year-old, Kujtim Fejzulai had dual citizenship of Austria and North Macedonia. He was known to police as a supporter of the Islamic State group, which claimed credit for the killings.

Fejzulai had visited neighboring country Slovakia in July and thought to have accompanied by another man, where he tried to purchase an AK 47 gun, however, he failed to buy it due to lack of firearm license. The shooting started around 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) Monday close to Vienna’s synagogue. The place of worship was closed and vacant at that point. Witnesses of the terror attack stated that the shooter fired arbitrarily into bars and bistros that were packed during the dinner hour. The shooter was shot by the police on time.

The police in Austria raided around 18 properties connected to the assailant on Tuesday and did 14 arrests. Two men were additionally arrested in the Swiss city of Winterthur, close to Zurich after reports surfaced that Fejzulai had met them in Switzerland.Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer said that Fejzulai had been sentenced to 22 months in an Austrian jail on 25 April 2019 for his connection with the terror organization. When the Vienna shooter was a teenager, he is believed to have spent time at a mosque in the Ottakring district of Vienna. His penalty was suspended in Dec a year ago on condition he would be consistently checked by probation services and would take part in a de-radicalization program.

Karl Nehammer and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, both had reprimanded his untimely release from prison. Nehammer stated that Fejzulai was able to fool his mentors that they recorded no early warning flags of his radical psychology. He said it highlighted “a drawback in our system”, which had granted an untimely release of a radicalized individual.

The justice minister, Alma Zadić of the Green party, backed the decision, saying it was legitimate and that he had been released on parole. However, later the justice ministry stated it had not been aware of Fejzulai’s attempts to purchase ammo in Slovakia, saying it would have been a good reason to arrest him.

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