German police raid homes of four men linked to Vienna attacker

BERLIN (AP) — German police have raided the homes and businesses of four men linked to the Islamic State (IS) sympathiser who carried out a deadly attack in Vienna this week.

Federal police said yesterday that officers, including members of the anti-terrorism unit GSG9, searched premises in Osnabrueck, Kassel and Pinneberg county.

Police said that while the men aren’t currently suspected of involvement in Monday’s shooting, there is evidence that they had links to the attacker.

Four people and the gunman were killed in the attack, and 20 people including a police officer were wounded.

German federal prosecutors said that two of the men are believed to have met the attacker in Vienna this summer. A third man had contact with him online, while the fourth had no direct contact to the attacker but was in touch with people who knew him.

The prosecutors said they were trying to collect possible evidence during the searches and that nobody was arrested. Authorities in Austria have identified the attacker as 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual national of Austria and North Macedonia who had a previous conviction for trying to join IS in Syria and had been given early release last December.

An investigation has been launched into why Austria didn’t put Fejzulai under observation despite being tipped off by Slovakian authorities that he had tried to purchase assault rifle ammunition at a shop in Bratislava in July.

Austrian authorities have searched 18 homes and detained 15 people in the country in connection with the attack. Four of them had previous terror-related convictions and several others had criminal records. Authorities in neighbouring Switzerland also took two people into custody this week.

A military police officer guard at the crime scene near a synagogue in Vienna. PHOTO: AP