After last night’s shocking terror attacks near a synagogue in Vienna, Austria, world leaders have stood in solidarity with Vienna, against terrorism.
Following the recent brutal attacks in France, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the French people share the shock and sorrow of the Austrian people, who have been attacked in the heart of their capital, Vienna. He stated “This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give up.”
The attacker who was shot dead by police has been identified as 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia.
He was known to authorities as he was arrested last year, April 2019, on terrorism-related charges, and was sentenced to 22 months in jail. after trying to get to war-torn Syria to join Islamic State (IS). The 20-year-old was released early December 2019 under lenient terms for young adults.
Police raided his apartment and seized video material. Two other arrests have reportedly been made so far. Some suspects are reportedly still at large.
Deaths and Injuries
Four civilians have died: an elderly woman, an elderly man, a young male who was passing by and a waitress.
Of the 17 people injured, 7 are in a critical condition. The young police officer who was shot is reportedly in a stable condition.
Austria’s political leaders honoured the victims by laying wreaths. Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen tweeted that “Federal Government and other political representatives, takes part in a minute of mourning and a wreath-laying ceremony at one of the scenes of the terrorist attack in Vienna.”
Scenes of Terror
Various areas around the main synagogue were targeted. Police named 6 crime scenes. Witnesses described how gunmen opened fire on people outside bars and chased them as they fled inside, falling over tables and chairs while running and scrambling. The attacker was armed with an assault rifle, a machete and handguns, and had a fake suicide belt.
Many shocking videos and pictures were shown on social media, including the shooting of the male passer-by.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated it was clearly an attack driven by “hatred of our way of life, our democracy”, and stressed the point that this is not a battle between Christians and Muslims, but “between civilisation and barbarism”, between “people who want peace and people who want war”.
The solidarity with Austria and France, shown by world leaders has brought the global fight against terrorism to the forefront. Although the Islamic State (IS) caliphate has been technically defeated, especially in terms of Syria, the connection to it and support of it has not.
Some Muslim leaders have blamed the terror attacks across Europe on France’s stated support for free speech, following the infamous Charlie Hebdo cartoons being used in a history lesson on freedom of speech, other Muslim leaders have taken a stand against the boycott of French goods and calls to avenge.
The Grande Mosquée de Paris tweeted a declaration of Muslim federations and mosques, condemning terrorism and all forms of violence in the name of Islam, and also condemned “calls for murder launched by foreign leaders”, referring to the tweet by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.