News & Politics

Vienna Terrorist Wanted to Join ISIS; Had Previous Terror Conviction

Photo/Ronald Zak

An Islamic terrorist who murdered four people in Vienna, Austria, and wounded a policeman, had a previous terror conviction for trying to join ISIS in Syria, according to police.

Kujtim Fejzulai, a 20-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual citizen, opened fire in a popular restaurant and nightclub district of the city that was crowded with revelers celebrating their last night before a national lockdown. Two men and two women were killed and 21 were wounded in the attack.

The Associated Press is reporting that a police anti-terror sweep brought in 14 people associated with the attack:

“Yesterday’s attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said. “It was an attack out of hatred — hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.”

The attacker, identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, was armed with a fake explosive vest, an automatic rifle, a handgun and a machete, according to Nehammer. Before the attack he posted a photograph on a social media account showing him posing with the rifle and machete, Nehammer said.

Fejzulai was sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 but was granted early release in December.

Given the recent publicity about “white supremacist terrorism,” it’s interesting that there have been at least four terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists just in the past few weeks. Instead of looking for Nazis, perhaps authorities should eschew political correctness and concentrate on keeping an eye on Islamic extremists.

“The fact is that the terrorist managed to deceive the judicial system’s deradicalization program” to secure his release, Nehammer said, adding that the system should be reevaluated.

He also said that an attempt to strip Fejzulai of his Austrian citizenship had failed for lack of enough evidence. In North Macedonia, police said a list of suspects sent by Austria included two others with dual Austrian and North Macedonian citizenship.

In Switzerland, police in the city of Winterthur said an 18-year-old and a 24-year-old were arrested in consultation with Austrian authorities. Investigators are now trying to determine the nature of the two men’s contact with the Vienna suspect.

Experience has taught authorities to cast a wide net when trying to root out a terror cell. I’m sure there will be more arrests in the near future.

I’m sure this wasn’t a coincidence.

The shooting began shortly after 8 p.m. Monday near Vienna’s main synagogue as many people were enjoying a last night of open restaurants and bars before a monthlong coronavirus lockdown, which started at midnight.

Nine minutes later, it was over, Nehammer said.

Authorities are continuing to investigate to determine if there are any additional suspects.