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Officials: Mistakes Made Regarding Vienna Gunman

He was released from prison early, sought ammo abroad
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2020 1:00 PM CST

(Newser) – The suspected gunman killed following a terror attack in Vienna was convicted of trying to join the Islamic State in Syria, released from prison early in December, and "hoodwinked the justice system's deradicalization program after his release," the AP reports. Kujtim Fejzulai, a 20-year-old dual citizen of North Macedonia and Austria, then traveled to Slovakia in July to buy ammunition for an AK-47 assault rifle but was denied as he didn't have a gun license, the BBC reports. Slovak police say they immediately notified their Austrian counterparts, and Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer acknowledged the info was received and looked into but not acted upon. "Something apparently went wrong with the communication in the next steps."

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After reviewing video evidence officials have confirmed there was not a second attacker in the 9-minute rampage, which killed four and wounded 23. Fejzulai had an automatic weapon, pistol, machete, and a fake suicide belt, officials say. Fourteen people connected with him have been arrested in Austria. Another two people have been arrested in Winterthur, Switzerland, near the German border. The men, aged 18 and 24, are described as friends of Fejzulai, whom they met in person, and are subjects in criminal cases opened in 2018 and 2019, per Reuters. The outlet reports several people linked to a Winterthur mosque are known to have travelled to Syria to join ISIS. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has urged the EU to "focus much more strongly on the problem of political Islam in the future" given recent attacks. (Read more Vienna stories.)

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