On the night of November 2nd, the people of Vienna, the capital of Austria, were horrified by reports of heavily armed gunmen shooting civilians at six different locations. The attack has been described as similar to the attack that took place in Mumbai 12 years ago. There were four people dead and 23 others wounded before the lone gunman was shot dead at 8:09 PM, 9 minutes after the shooting began.
The police scrambled to look for any clues of other gunmen, but CCTV footage makes it seem as though the gunman may have acted alone, contradicting previous reports.
The gunman was later identified as Kujtim Fejzulai. Previously sentenced to jail for 22 months in April 2019 after attempting to get into Syria to join ISIS, Fejzulai had managed to secure an early release in December. ISIS took responsibility for the attack, referring to him as a ‘soldier of the caliphate.’
Since the shooting took place near Vienna’s main synagogue, the Seitenstettengasse Temple, the Jewish community is now on high alert. The Jewish Community Vienna has closed all synagogues in Austria, while other facilities such as kosher restaurants, supermarkets, and schools have also been closed. The country has declared three days of national mourning.
As the police continue to make arrests and go through all the evidence that the perpetrator left behind, there has been an outpouring of love and support from all over the world, and various world leaders have expressed their solidarity denounced Islamic terrorism.
Austria has always embraced multiculturalism, and Vienna has a sizeable population of Muslims. To maintain discord, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in an address to the nation, stated “This is no fight between Christians and Muslims, or between Austrians and migrants. This is a fight between civilization and barbarism.”
Austria has lax gun ownership laws as a large number of people enjoy hunting; however, violent attacks and murder have remained exceedingly rare.
As many European countries scramble to get a grip on the pandemic and its devastating effect on the economy, these events could not have been more ill-timed.
The United Kingdom has raised its terror threat level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’ following this attack, and many in Austria are fearful of another similar attack in their country. The unpredictability and horror of Islamic terror seems to be returning to the continent, leaving fear and an increasing anxiousness in its wake.
Written by Aditij Dhamija for MTTN
Edited by Saher Kalra for MTTN
Featured image by www.apnews.com
Artwork by Getty Images