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Arrests made after four killed in ‘Islamist terror’ shooting – Vienna attack

Austrian police have made several arrests at addresses linked to an Islamic State sympathiser who killed at least four people in a terrorist shooting and stabbing attack in Vienna on Monday night.

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The shooting began at 8pm on Monday evening near Vienna’s main synagogue, as many people were enjoying a last night of open restaurants and bars before a month-long coronavirus lockdown, which started at midnight.

Two men and two women died of their injuries after the attack in the centre of the Austrian capital, which took place hours before a coronavirus lockdown started.

The suspect, Kujtim Fejzulai, who was shot dead by police nine minutes into the attack, was a 20-year-old man of North Macedonian origin convicted last year for membership of Isis after being arrested on his way to Syria to join the group, officials said. The man, who also possessed an Austrian passport, was released early from a 22-month prison sentence in December.

The victims were “an elderly man, an elderly woman, a young male passerby and a waitress”, according to Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. He praised a police officer shot in the attack and who is in a critical but stable condition as brave.

Kurz said the entire country had been the target of the attack. He called the murders “cold-blooded” and pledged that everything would be done to pursue those behind them.

“The enemy, the Islamist terror, wants to split our society, but we will give no space to this hatred,” he said. “Our enemies are not the members of a religious community, these are terrorists. This is not a fight between Christians and Muslims, or Austrians and migrants, but a fight between civilisation and barbarity.”

Austria’s president, Alexander Van der Bellen, said the nation’s tears were flowing for the victims and their relatives. He said the attack had targeted “life in a liberal democracy which terrorists clearly hate deeply”.

Twenty-two people were injured with gunshot and knife wounds, of whom three were in a critical condition.

The attacker had been armed with an automatic rifle, a hand gun and a machete, and had been wearing a fake suicide vest. He had posted a photograph of himself with the weapons on his Instagram account before the attack, according to the interior minister, Karl Nehammer.

Late on Tuesday Isis claimed responsibility for the attack without providing evidence, in a statement by its Amaq News Agency posted on Telegram.

Fourteen people associated with the assailant have been detained for questioning in searches on 18 properties in and near Vienna. Following conflicting reports overnight, Nehammer said on Tuesday afternoon that evidence gathered so far showed no indication that there was a second assailant.

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