Vienna Attacker ‘Deceived’ Deradicalisation Mentors, Got ‘Premature’ Release, Interior Minister Says

On Monday night, a 20-year-old gunman started a shooting and stabbing rampage in Austria’s capital, eventually claiming lives of at least four people and injuring dozens of others. It was later revealed that the suspect, who was shot dead by police, had earlier been sentenced to 22 months in prison for trying to enter Syria to join Daesh*.

The Vienna terrorist attacker, identified as 20-year-old dual Austrian-North Macedonian citizen Kujtim Feizulai, was prematurely released from a deradicalisation programme as he had misled his mentors, giving them the impression that he had given up on jihadist intentions, Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said during a Tuesday press conference, as quoted by The Guardian.

In September 2018, Feizulai, born south of Vienna in the town of Mödling, sought to travel to Syria to join Daesh* terrorist forces. The attempt eventually failed and the man was deported from Turkey to Austria, where he was sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019. However, his sentence was shortened under the country’s juvenile laws. The man was released from custody in December 2019, with authorities apparently deeming him unlikely to carry out an attack. He retained his Austrian citizenship.

According to the minister, Feizulai falsely expressed a readiness to be ready to re-integrate into Austrian society during the meetings with his mentors, while apparently remaining focused “on destroying the system”.

According to the head of a…

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