The main suspect in Monday’s deadly terror attack in Vienna had been convicted on terror-related charges in April 2019 but secured an early release in December.
The suspect, identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, was sentenced to 22 months in April 2019 for attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State, according to AP. Additionally, he had Austrian citizenship but was originally from North Macedonia, according to Austrian authorities.
Vienna police confirmed on Tuesday evening that two men and two women were killed when gunmen opened fire at six locations in the city center on Nov. 2, starting at approximately 8 p.m. local time. Twenty-two people were wounded in the attacks, including one of the police officers responding to the incident. The officer is in recovery, according to a police statement.
Fejzulai, who was armed with an assault rifle, handguns and a machete, and who was wearing a fake explosive vest, was shot dead by police, who arrived at the scene within minutes.
Eighteen house searches have been conducted and 14 people arrested in connection with the incident, according to police.
Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said in a statement on Tuesday evening that additional shooters could not yet be ruled out.
Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters. The terror organization issued a statement via its Amaq News Agency, along with a picture and video purporting to show the gunman. The statement identified the attacker as “Abu Dagnah al-Albany.”
In the photo, Albany is armed with a handgun, an automatic rifle and a machete, and is wearing a ring stamped with the message “Mohammed is the messenger of Allah,” according to the report.
In the video, “Albany” pledges allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi.
The Associated Press quoted Austrian Interior Minister Nehammer as saying, “The fact is that the terrorist managed to deceive the judicial system’s deradicalization program” to secure his release. He also said that an attempt to strip Fejzulai of his Austrian citizenship had failed for lack of evidence and called for a reform of the system, according to the report.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that the attack, “which is clearly an Islamist terrorist attack, is not an isolated incident but part of a series of many attacks carried out against Europe.”
These attacks were “an assault on our democracy, on our basic values, on the European lifestyle,” he said.
The Austrian leader said that anti-Semitism could also not be ruled out as a possible motive.
“The attacker swore allegiance to ISIS and the attack began right in front of a synagogue. No Jews were hurt, but the starting point of the attack, right in front of a synagogue, doesn’t allow us to rule out an anti-Semitic motive,“ said Kurz.
Whatever their motivations and goal, the terrorists would not succeed, he vowed.
“We will not let these terrorist acts threaten us,” said the chancellor. “We will hunt down anyone who lent their hand to this attack and bring them to justice.”