- The perpetrator of the shooting was originally from North Macedonia, but was also in possession of Austrian nationality.
- The suspect had been sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 because he had tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group.
- “Yesterday’s attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack,” Chancellor Kurz said.
The Islamic State (Daesh) has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks that led to four deaths and scores of injuries in Vienna on Tuesday. As per communication released by the terror group, a “caliphate soldier” was behind the shootings that took place near a synagogue.
The group, in a bid to solidify its claim, also went ahead and released a photo of the said armed attacker. The perpetrator of the shooting was originally from North Macedonia, but was also in possession of Austrian nationality.
He had has a history of terrorism, and had been convicted in 2019 on terror-related charges, as was elaborated by Austria’s Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, on Tuesday. As per the interior minister, the suspect had been sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 because he had tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group. In December he was able to get out of prison early, under the law for juvenile crimes.
During the Vienna attack, the aggressor was equipped with a fake explosive vest and an automatic rifle, a short weapon, and a machete, which he used to carry out the brutal attack on innocent citizens, as explained by the minister.
In images captured by security cameras, one of the alleged attackers can be seen armed with a long weapon, apparently from the Kalashnikov family of assault rifles, and dressed in white. Authorities were still trying to determine if there were more attackers, said Nehammer.
He urged people in Vienna to stay home on Tuesday, if possible, noting that there was no need to send the children to school. About 1,000 policemen were on duty in Vienna on Tuesday morning.
Two men and two women died from the wounds they sustained in Monday night’s attack, Austria’s Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said. In total, five people died, including the attacker, and 22 were injured. Seven of them were said to have sustained serious injuries.
“Yesterday’s attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack,” Chancellor 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 Chancellor added, “this is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants. No, this is a fight between the many people who believe in peace and the few [who oppose it]. It is a fight between civilisation and barbarism.”
The shooting began shortly after 20:00 (19:00 GMT) near Vienna’s main synagogue. Many people were enjoying one last night of open bars and restaurants before the coronavirus quarantine, which was scheduled to take effect as from midnight.
Some 150 citizens of North Macedonia joined the ranks of the Islamists between 2012 and 2016 to fight in Iraq and Syria. Most of these citizens were recruited from the Muslim Albanian minority, a mainly moderate community that represents a quarter of the 2.1 million inhabitants of North Macedonia, a country with a majority Slavic Orthodox.