Austrian capital Vienna on Monday was jolted with indiscriminate firing by gunmen at six different locations. At least 4 civilians and one attacker had been killed while the police forces have launched a wide dragnet to catch other assailants. The initial suspicions about the attack being motivated by Jihad were confirmed as the details of the slain assailants came to the fore. The Vienna gunman, who was neutralised by police forces, had a history of being associated with Jihad.
Gunman neutralised in the Vienna attack had wanted to join ISIS in Syria
Twenty-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai, who killed 4 people and wounded 17 other in Monday’s attack, was earlier arrested in April 2019 because he wanted to join ISIS in Syria. He was booked under terror charges and sentenced to 22 months in prison. However, in December 2020, he was granted an early release under the country’s juvenile law. At that time he was deemed incapable of an attack.
Born and raised in Vienna, Fejzulai was one among the 90 Austrian Islamic radicals under the radar of the intelligence agencies because they had wanted to travel to Syria. He had made all the way to an ISIS safe house along the Turkish border with Syria last year before being stopped by the local police. He was detained for four months in Turkey and was subsequently extradited back to Austria.
During his trial in April 2019, the killer defended himself in the court saying that he had “gotten into a wrong mosque” to allege he has been wrongly radicalised in carrying out jihadist terrorism. The judge deemed him incapable of carrying out an attack and therefore ordered his early release.
Shots fired at six locations
As per Vienna Police, at around 8 PM local time, several shots were fired at a busy street in the city centre. The attack happened at six locations. Some videos were circulated on the social media platforms showing gunmen walking through the streets, but their authenticity could not be verified. One of the attacks took place at a location precariously close to the Jewish synagogue.
Fejzulai was armed with an automatic rifle, pistol and machete while he launched an attack in Vienna. He was neutralised at around 8 pm after marauding the streets donning fake explosives belt. Two men and two women were killed in the attack.
However, police are not yet sure if there were more assailants involved in the attack. More than 1,000 security personnel are on the lookout for other gunmen after gunshots were heard at six different places in the city centre on Monday night.
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the attackers were well equipped with automatic weapons. He said, “We are victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital that is still ongoing. One of the perpetrators was neutralized, but several perpetrators appear to still be on the loose.”