A TERRORIST shot dead in Vienna after opening fire on drinkers near a synagogue had announced his attack on Instagram and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Terror gunman Kujtim Fejzulai was revealed as a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia who had previously been jailed for trying to travel to Syria.
Interior minister Karl Nehammer said the terrorist had been released early due to his young age, reports Reuters.
Mr Nehammer said during a press conference this afternoon that the attacker had given the outward impression of integrating while doing the opposite.
He admitted the fact he managed “deceive the judicial system’s de-radicalization program to secure his release” should the system needs to be re-evaluated.
Fejzulai was reportedly being monitored by security services but was not considered capable of mounting a domestic attack, the editor of the weekly Falter newspaper Florian Klenk said.
Klenk said he was one of 90 Austrian Islamists who wanted to travel to Syria – and is believed to have tried to go to the Middle East as recently as July.
Fejzulai is reported to have been arrested after making it to an ISIS safe house on the Turkish border before being extradited back to Austria.
He reportedly spent two days in a “rat hole” with “no shower, not toilet, no running water” before being found by cops.
His early release however freed him to kill as he was one of an undetermined number of gunman who launched an attack last night in Vienna.
The shooter was filmed prowling the streets and seemingly opening fire at random with an assault weapon.
He was killed by cops within nine minutes of them arriving on the scene.
What we know so far
- The attack was carried out in six locations across Vienna’s city centre
- Four dead – two women and two men
- 22 injured – six are fighting for life and a police officer who was injured is in stable condition
- One gunman shot dead as interior minister believes there is no indication of another attacker
- Dead gunman named as ISIS supporter Kujtim Fejzulai – who had previously been jailed for trying to go to Syria
- Fejzulai reportedly announced the attack on Instagram and had previously been jailed for trying to go Syria
- Two Turkish MMA fighters carried a woman and an injured cop to safety
Two men and two women were killed in the rampage, and 22 people were wounded, six with critical injuries.
A police officer is now in stable condition after it was reported earlier that he was fighting for his life.
German daily newspaper Bild has also reported the terrorist is reported to have posted on Instagram announcing his intentions before the attack.
It published a picture allegedly showing the suspect brandishing a pistol, an assault rifle and a machete while wearing a black t shirt and beanie.
He is reported to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
And he reportedly sent two possible accomplices a video of the 2015 terrorist attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Bild reports investigators are probing the now closed Instagram account which they consider “likely” to have belonged the attacker.
On the account, he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader “The Professor” Abdullah Qardash, who was appointed after the US killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
He is also alleged to have posted pictures of bullets and declared the ISIS “remains and is expanding” – a popular phrase among supporters of the group since its collapse as a state in the Middle East.
The gunman is alleged to have sent a video of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack to two pals yesterday morning before the rampage.
CALL TO ARMS
Police are said to be investigating the two recipients of the video, and whether this was considered a call to arms.
Outrage has been growing over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which has seen a spate of bloodshed in France.
ISIS just days ago called on jihadis to “spill the blood of Crusaders” in “revenge” over the cartoons, which have seen mass protests and calls of boycotts of French goods in many Muslim nations.
Fanatics were ordered to carry out an “incendiary campaign” on a sick poster with a photo of French President Emmanuel Macron in the background.
Falter reported he was in prison for just seven and a half months after being caught trying to join ISIS.
It reported he became radicalised as a teenager as he dealt with problems at school and at home.
He is reported to have become a member of a mosque which was already being monitored by security services.
Fejzulai is reported to have admitted he had “got into the wrong mosque” when he appeared before a judge in 2019.
“I wanted to get away from home. I expected a better life. My own apartment, my own income,” he said.
He had reportedly saved up cash through a summer job in 2018 to buy a ticket to Kabul, Afghanistan, to meet up with ISIS fighters.
Mr Nehammer said 18 raids and 14 people have been arrested in connection to last night’s deadly rampage.
He said during a press conference this afternoon that there is no evidence so far of a second attacker.
However, earlier reports suggested there was more than one gunman.
Pictures and videos showed running gun battles as bystanders fled screaming from terrorists shooting wildly in the streets.
Falter reported one bystander screamed at the terrorist “you a**hole” as he took cover in the entrance of a bar.
Mr Nehammer described the dead suspect as an “ISIS sympathiser”.
Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz condemned the violence as a “hideous terrorist attack” as officials ordered residents to stay indoors.
Kurz said the army would protect sites in the capital so the police could focus on anti-terror operations.
He described the attacks as “very well equipped with automatic weapons” and had “prepared professionally”.
Kurz added authorities have not ruled out an anti-Semitic motive for the attack.
The chancellor said on Twitter: “Our police will act decisively against the perpetrators of this hideous terrorist attack.
“I am glad that our police officers have already been able to eliminate a perpetrator.
“We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means.”
Terrified crowds – who had been enjoying a drink on the night before the city’s partial Covid lockdown – were shut inside restaurants and the opera house until the area was secured.
Many were reportedly left sitting on the floor in the dark while they waited to be led to safety by cops as the violence erupted outside.
Boris Johnson said he was “deeply shocked” by the attack last night.
He added: “The UK’s thoughts are with the people of Austria – we stand united with you against terror.”
Hundreds of shots are understood to have been fired amid the carnage, which also saw two heroic MMA fighters step in to help an injured cop.
French president Emmanuel Macron said: “We share the shock and grief of the Austrian people struck this evening by an attack in the heart of their capital.
“This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give up.”
The bloodbath in Vienna comes after France was hit by two horrifying terror attacks by Islamic extremists with three people murdered in Nice and a school teacher beheaded in Paris.