Attack in Vienna, Austria – Update

police standing on road during daytime

Austrian authorities have shut down a mosque and an Islamic association frequented by the man who killed four people in a terror attack in Vienna on 2 November. 

Integration Minister Raab and Interior Minister Nehammer announced the closure of the Tewhid Mosque and the Melit Ibrahim Association on Friday, 6 November,  following a meeting with the president of Austria’s Islamic Faith Community, Ümit Vural. The gunman had frequented the mosque, as well as the association. According to Minister Raab, the closure decision was made in the name of national security. Both institutions had been found not to hold a “positive attitude toward society and the state” as mandated under Austria’s Islam Law. Austrian authorities acknowledged that grave intelligence errors were made, as the gunman was known to them and under observation. The resignation of personnel was announced. Fejzulai had previously served 22 months in jail for attempting to join the Islamic State. According to The Washington Post authorities didn’t change their risk assessment of Fejzulai after his release after they had determined he had been deradicalized in jail.

In connection with the attack, German police searched the premises of four people believed to have had ties to the Vienna attacker. Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt  (BKA), the federal investigations bureau,  stated police searches were conducted Friday in the northern cities of Osnabruck, Kassel and Pinneberg county near Hamburg. The premises searched were homes and business. Additionally, Swiss federal police detained two acquaintances of the attacker near Zurich, reportedly aged 18 and 24.

The shooting began at 8 pm local time on 2 November, when a heavily armed man opened fire on people in Vienna’s popular nightlife area, commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle. Although initial reports cited the possibility of multiple perpetrators, cell phone footage later determined the gunman was acting alone. The gunmen exchanged fire with special forces police during which one police officer was shot and injured before the perpetrator, who was armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and a machete, was shot dead at 8:09 pm local time. In addition to the weapons, he was also wearing a fake bomb vest. The attacks come as a shock to a county that has for almost four decades escaped the type of large-scale attacks that have afflicted places like Paris, London and Berlin.

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