The attacker was a 20-year-old, Kujtim Fejzulai, who had formed an alliance with the Islamist organization. He had also tried to go to fight in Syria. He had managed to convince the authorities that he had been de-radicalized. 14 people arrested. In Austria Muslims are well integrated. The Pope's telegram to Card. Schönborn.
Vienna (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Three days of national mourning have begun in Austria today, with flags at half mast, to commemorate the four people killed in the central area of the city in a terrorist attack that is now clearly defined as "Islamist ".
The perpetrator, killed by police in a shootout, was a 20-year-old, Kujtim Fejzulai, born in Vienna, of Albanian parents from North Macedonia. At 18, he tried to go to Syria as a fighter, but was arrested in Turkey in 2018, after his mother reported him.
Sentenced to 22 months in prison in Austria, he was released in December 2019 for good behaviour. Months ago, Kujtim Fejzulai even managed to convince his controllers and an association for de-radicalization that followed him that he had abandoned Islamism.
Either way, he managed to forge an alliance with the organization of the Islamic State (IS) and to obtain weapons and machetes to carry out what Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called "the first Islamist attack in Austria". Yesterday, IS claimed responsibility for the attack by publishing a video in which the young man, who calls himself "Abu Dujana Al-Albani", lends an alliance to the terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, the police, through raids and searches, arrested 14 people in Vienna, St Pölten and Linz. Two Swiss citizens - two men aged 18 and 24 - were also arrested in Winterthur near Zurich, suspected of having a connection with the killer.
Many in the country wonder how it was possible that the young man managed to deceive the authorities about his de-radicalization, and how it was possible to express blind hatred against ordinary people.
In Austria, unlike in France, Muslims are well integrated into society. As an example, the interior minister, Karl Nehammer, cited the help that two citizens of Turkish origin offered to a policeman injured in the attack.
One of the victims was a North Macedonian, who came to the country to better his circumstances. "If they think - said Nehammer - that they can divide our society with violence, terror and fear, it is important to be together".
Yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis, through Card. Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, sent a telegram of condolence to Card. Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna. The text says: “Deeply shaken, the Holy Father Francis learned of the news of the violent acts in Vienna which have brought death and pain to innocent people. His Holiness expresses his deep condolences in the families of the victims and all the Austrian people, he is also close to the wounded and prays for their speedy recovery. Pope Francis entrusts the victims to the mercy of God and begs the Lord, so that violence and hatred may cease and peaceful coexistence in society is promoted. His Holiness heartily accompanies those affected by this tragedy with his Blessing”.