- One perpetrator of Monday’s gun attacks in Vienna was shot and killed and authorities believe at least one remains on the run, with police carrying out a manhunt.
- Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced early on Tuesday morning that the suspect who had been killed was an “Islamist terrorist…sympathetic to ISIS.”*
- Austrian media later revealed that the dead gunman was one Kurtin S, a 20-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual national with Albanian roots born and raised in Vienna.
- According to investigative journalist and Falter newspaper editor-in-chief Florian Klenk, Kurtin S. had been monitored by Austrian authorities after joining about 90 other Islamists who sought to travel to Syria illegally to join the fight against that country’s secular government. Police foiled the suspect’s attempt to head to the war-torn Middle Eastern country, landing him a 22 month prison sentence which was later shortened under Austria’s juvenile laws, allowing him to be released in December 2019. Police reportedly deemed the suspect incapable of planning an attack in the Austrian capital.
2/2 Er war am Radar des Verfassungsschutzes, weil er einer von rund 90 österreichischen Islamisten war, die nach Syrien ausreisen wollten. Im Juli wurde er daran gehindert. Dass er in Wien einen Terroranschlag plant, hatte ihm die Polizei nicht zugetraut.— Florian Klenk (@florianklenk) November 3, 2020
- Armed with an automatic rifle, pistol and machete, Kurtin S was reportedly killed at 8.09pm local time, just nine minutes after beginning his rampage. The perpetrator was shot by a member of the WEGA special police unit. Police later carried out a search of his apartment.
- Austrian police, including the Interior Ministry’s EKO Cobra tactical unit and WEGA continued to hunt for at least one other suspected attacker, who posted images of himself with an assault rifle, handgun and knife and pledged his allegiance to Daesh (ISIS)* on his Instagram page. The manhunt has reportedly included intensifying control of the German-Austrian border, as well as a raid on at least one address in St Polten, Lower Austria, with the address thought to have been obtained during the search of Kurtin S’s apartment. Further raids are expected, according to the Kurier newspaper.
- Speaking to news channel OE24 on Tuesday morning, Interior Minister Nehammer reiterated that police are at present assuming that there was at least one other perpetrator.
- Later in the day, Nehammer indicated that police had carried out a total of 18 searches of properties and detained 14 persons believed connected to the deceased attacker. He added that police have received an estimated 20,000 video materials from eyewitnesses of the attacks, processing about half of them. On the basis of materials studied, police have been unable to conclusively determine whether there were any other accomplices were directly involved.
- The terror attack on Vienna took place at six locations, including near a synagogue in the city centre, and was launched on the final evening before a coronavirus-related curfew comes into force on Tuesday which is expected to last until at least the end of November.
- A total of six people were killed (including the perpetrator) and at least 16 people have been injured, six of them critically, in Monday’s attacks.
- In an address on Tuesday morning, Chancellor Kurz confirmed that the Vienna attack had an Islamist terrorist motive, and stressed that his country’s fight against terrorism was “not about a dispute between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants,” but “a struggle between civilisation and barbarism.” Kurz emphasised that Austrians “will not be intimidated by the terrorists,” and would fight “this battle with all determination.”
* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.