Swiss police have arrested two men in a probe into the main suspect of Monday’s terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria, while Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the shooting, according to reports.
Four people were killed and 22 people, including a policeman, were injured when a gunman armed with an automatic rifle, handgun and machete opened fire in Vienna’s city center on Monday evening in a suspected Islamist terrorist attack.
On Tuesday, Swiss police said they had arrested two men, aged 18 and 24, in the city of Winterthur about 10 kilometers from Zurich, in connection with the attack.
“The extent to which there was a connection between the two arrested persons and the alleged assassin is currently the subject of ongoing clarifications and investigations which are being carried out by the responsible authorities,” read a statement from the Zurich cantonal police.
Some 14 people have been arrested in Austria so far and 18 raids have been carried out after a search on the deceased attacker’s home.
The alleged gunman has been identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, a 20-year-old with dual Austrian-North Macedonian citizenship, who was known to the authorities and had a previous terrorism conviction for attempting to join IS fighters in Syria.
IS has now claimed responsibility for the gunman’s rampage across Vienna on Monday, according to messages posted by the terrorist organization’s Amaq News Agency which also include images apparently showing the Vienna attacker.
A video of him reportedly pledging allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi was also released.
Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on Tuesday that Fejzulai had entered into a deradicalization program, but “despite all the outward signs that he was integrating into society, the assailant apparently did exactly the opposite.”
Before Monday’s shooting in Vienna’s downtown Seitenstettengasse district, the Islamist had posed in a Facebook picture with a Kalashnikov and the machete he had carried during the attack.
World leaders roundly condemned Monday’s attack and on Tuesday the UK raised its terrorism threat level from “substantial” to “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.
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