Vienna Attack Probe Unearths Web of Islamic State Sympathizers

Sixteen people have been arrested in Austria and Switzerland for alleged links to gunman

A gunman opened fire near a synagogue in Vienna Monday night, killing at least four people and sending 14 to the hospital, in what officials called an Islamist terrorist attack. Photo: Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

VIENNA—Austrian authorities said they are investigating whether the lone gunman who killed four people and wounded many more during a rampage through the center of the capital got help from like-minded Islamist radicals.

Police in Austria and neighboring Switzerland have arrested 16 people they say have connections to the shooter, 20-year-old Austrian citizen Kujtim Fejzulai, who was killed by police nine minutes after opening fire Monday night in the streets of Vienna. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

All were being detained on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization, according to Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. They ranged in age from 18 to 28 and included Austrian nationals, dual citizens and foreign residents with roots in Bangladesh, North Macedonia and Russia.

One of those detained—an Austrian national of Turkish origin identified by police as Burat K.—met Fejzulai in the hours before the attack, according to officials. The man received a prison sentence together with Fejzulai in 2019 after the pair attempted to join Islamic State in Syria.

The two men were radicalized in a mosque as teenagers, and by Islamic State’s online propaganda, according to Burat K.’s lawyer, Rudolf Mayer.

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