Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has announced that the primary suspect of the deadly terror attack in Vienna’s city center — who declared his allegiance to the Islamic State and announced the attack on social media — is a 20-year-old North Macedonian-Austrian dual national who had prior terror-related convictions.
The slain terrorist, identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, had been sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 after he was convicted of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State terrorist organization. After spending just nine months in prison, Fejzulai was released early under juvenile law, Nehammer (ÖVP) revealed to the Associated Press.
Fejzulai, who wore a fake explosive vest and was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a hand gun, and machete, was shot dead by members of WEGA special unit not far from the Reuprechtskirche, Austria newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.
Following Monday night’s events which saw five people killed and 17 others injured across six locations in the Austrian capital’s city center, security forces searched fifteen houses and arrested several individuals, the interior minister added.
There were also two arrests made in St. Pölten, the capital and largest city of the State of Lower Austria, and one in Linz, a city of 200,000 in Upper Austria.
At present, it’s not entirely clear whether the deceased gunman acted alone or whether there are additional terrorists on the run. However, authorities have continued to assert their belief that several terrorists were involved in the bloody attack, which appears to have been well-planned out beforehand.
On Tuesday morning, authorities urged Viennese residents to stay at home, if possible, and to steer clear of the city center. Roughly 1,000 police officers are currently combing the city’s streets in search of possible accomplices.
Responding to the horrific attacks, Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on Tuesday said: “We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means… The whole country is in thoughts with the victims, injured and their families, to whom I express my deepest condolences.”
Embattled French President Emmanuel Macron, who has dealt with several Islamic terror attacks the past month, also responded to Monday night’s deadly attack, saying: “We, French, share the shock and sadness of the Austrians after an attack in Vienna. After France, it is a friendly country that is under attack. This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with. We won’t give into anything.”
Wir, Franzosen, teilen den Schock und die Trauer von der Österreicher nach einer Angriff in Wien. Nach Frankreich ist es ein befreundetes Land, das angegriffen wird. Dies ist unser Europa. Unsere Feinde müssen wissen, mit wem sie es zu tun haben. Wir werden nichts nachgeben.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 2, 2020
On the night of the attack, US President Donald Trump, just prior to attending his final campaign rally before the Nov. 3 election, tweeted: “Our prayers are with the people of Vienna after yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe.”
“These evil attacks against innocent people must stop,” Trump added. “The U.S. stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists, including radical Islamic terrorists.”
Our prayers are with the people of Vienna after yet another vile act of terrorism in Europe. These evil attacks against innocent people must stop. The U.S. stands with Austria, France, and all of Europe in the fight against terrorists, including radical Islamic terrorists.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020
European leaders Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen, two politicians who’ve been at the forefront of foisting deadly, pro-mass migration policies onto the people of Europe, also offered their condolences to Austrians.
“The Islamist terror is our common enemy,” Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Merkel wrote in tweet. “The battle against these murderers and their instigators is our common fight.”
President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen also issued a statement via social media which read: “I spoke to Sebastian Kurz & offered my deepest condolences to the Austrian people following the Vienna attack by “Islamic State” terrorists. I condemn this despicable attack in the strongest terms possible.”