Vienna jihadist targeted youth group

According to the latest news from the investigation into the November 2 terrorist attack in Vienna, Kujtim Fejzulai, the ISIS jihadist who had carried out the attack, intended (but failed) to cause carnage during the prayer service of a youth group in a Catholic church.

Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reported that the background of the attack targeting local churches is disconcerting: The ISIS-killer wanted to cause a bloodbath during an evening prayer of the Catholic Youth group in the Ruprecht Church in Vienna. The Islamist failed to enter through the closed door, however, due to a timer lock.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) has strengthened security measures in local churches for Advent and the Christmas season. The reason for his concern — which has been met with silence from the prosecutor’s office — is shocking. According to Krone’s investigation, specifically 17 children of the Catholic Youth Group, had escaped a certain death at the hands of the jihadist.

While the children were holding a non-public prayer hour in the Ruprecht Church in the heart of Vienna, the ISIS killer wanted to break in with an assault rifle and pistols. However, he failed to do so due to a time-locked mechanism at the entrance of the building. Seconds later, the attacker was “taken out” with one shot by WEGA agents in front of the oldest church in the city. The “Investigative Group 2 November” interviewed the shocked women and children.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the interim report of the Austrian Commission on possible negligence in the ranks of anti-terror forces will be made public before Christmas. Talks with representatives from several government departments have already been agreed upon for the coming week.

The spokesman of the Vienna Archdiocese, Michael Prüller, on Friday afternoon described the dire situation on the evening of the terror attack. The 17 youths escaped the attacker by turning off the lights when the first shots were fired.

“You reacted with presence of mind and hid,” Prüller said. The youths stayed hidden in the darkness until 2:30 am on Tuesday. Then the police gave the all-clear so that the 17 girls and boys could go home.

The day after the attack, Nehammer pinpointed the failures of the judiciary, headed by Minister Alma Zadić (The Greens), because the attacker had been released prematurely from prison. He warned that communication between the judicial authorities and Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (BVT) and the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (LVT) should be improved. Despite her error, Justice Minister Alma Zadić defended the early release of the jihadist from prison.

A spokeswoman for the Slovak police told the news channel TA3 that suspicious people, including the perpetrator, had tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia in the summer of 2020. This information was immediately passed on to the Austrian BVT, but they never acted on this information.

During the week after the attack, media reports also revealed that in the months after the jihadist’s release from prison in December 2019, the perpetrator had contact with jihadists from Germany who were known to the police and who had stayed with him during a visit to Vienna. It is not known why he was not observed and why the Krems prison court, which could have revoked his conditional release, did nothing. A research network of Süddeutscher Zeitung, WDR, NDR and a Viennese weekly newspaper questioned the Interior Ministry on these explosive findings.

The German extremism researcher Peter Neumann pointed out that three other jihadists who have just been released from prison have now become terrorists, along with Kujtim F. Hundreds of Islamists were still in prisons in France, Germany, Austria, and in other EU countries, but hardly any state has yet prepared for their early release.

The terrorist attack in Vienna saw four people killed and 23 others injured, some seriously. Initially, the police had assumed that there were several perpetrators.

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