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Vienna shooting: What we know about ‘Islamist terror’ attack

Summary

Four people have been killed and 23 others have been wounded in a gun attack in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The gunman was shot dead by police. Here’s what we know about the attack. The shooting began at 20:00 (19:00 […]

Four people have been killed and 23 others have been wounded in a gun attack in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The gunman was shot dead by police.

Here’s what we know about the attack.

The shooting began at 20:00 (19:00 GMT) on 2 November near the synagogue on Seitenstettengasse, when a heavily armed man opened fire on people outside cafes and restaurants.

Many were out enjoying drinks and eating out before a looming midnight curfew, as Austrian restrictions were about to come into effect to try to stem rising cases of coronavirus.

Initially police were unsure how many attackers there were. Some witnesses spoke of two or more, and it took almost two days for police to go through thousands of hours of mobile phone footage to determine that the gunman was acting alone.

Members of the special forces quickly arrived at the scene. One police officer was shot and injured before the perpetrator, who was armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and a machete, was shot dead at 20:09 local time. He was also wearing a fake bomb vest.

A major anti-terrorist operation then swung into action and police set up roadblocks around the city centre.

Meanwhile, police in the neighbouring Czech Republic said they were carrying out random checks on the border in case other suspects fled in that direction. Germany also stepped up checks at its borders.

Police named six crime scenes in central Vienna’s nightlife area known as the Bermuda Triangle: Seitenstettengasse and nearby Morzinplatz, Salzgries, Fleischmarkt, Bauernmarkt and Graben. The suspect was shot dead near St Rupert’s Church.

Who were the victims?
Two women and two men were fatally shot during the nine minutes of terror in the heart of Vienna:

A 24-year-old German student was killed in front of the restaurant in Ruprechtsplatz where she worked as a waitress; she’d been studying at the nearby University of Applied Arts
A 21-year-old man originally from North Macedonia was shot near Fleischmarkt; Nedzip V. was described as a painter who loved football and played for years for local club FC Bisamberg
A 39-year-old Austrian man was killed in front of a fast food restaurant in Schwedenplatz
A 44-year-old Austrian woman died later in hospital of her wounds. Reports said she worked nearby for Vienna-based company Tribotecc
In all 23 others were wounded, 13 of them by bullets.

What we know about gunman
The gunman was later identified as a 20-year-old “Islamist terrorist” who was released early from jail in December. Jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed on its propaganda outlet Amaq that it was behind the attack.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said he had been jailed for 22 months in April 2019 after trying to get to war-torn Syria to join Islamic State (IS) jihadists. He had travelled to Turkey in September 2018 and was held there before being returned to Austria and arrested as a “foreign fighter” in January 2019.

He was eventually named as Kujtim Fejzulai, who had both Austrian and Macedonian citizenship. He also had a previous conviction for terrorist association, Mr Nehammer said.

Police searched his home and seized video material, and arrested 14 of his friends and acquaintances.

Swiss police detained two more people, described by the justice minister there as “colleagues” of the gunman. “The three men also met in person,” Karin Keller-Sutter told St Galler Tagblatt.

Fejzulai travelled to Slovakia in July 2020 in search of ammunition for an AK-47 but his attempted purchase was turned down because he had no gun licence, it has emerged.

Slovak police immediately informed their colleagues about the “suspects from Austria”, but the interior minister in Vienna revealed that the case was not followed up properly by the BVT domestic intelligence agency. “Something obviously went wrong in communication,” he said.

https://newsinpaphos.com/
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