Attempt to purchase ammunition, radical views: Three days after the massacre of an IS supporter in Vienna, questions are piling up as to whether the security authorities are failing. The government now wants to comment on it.
Photo series with 10 photos
Standing in a nightlife district in the Austrian capital three days after the terrorist attack more and more potential failures by the safety authorities in focus. A 20-year-old ISIS sympathizer with a criminal record killed four people and injured more than 20 people on Monday evening, before being killed by police shots.
The Austrian parliament will hold a special session on Thursday in which Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens), Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) and Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) want to make statements.
Supervisors contradict the Ministry of the Interior
Questions revolve around an attempt to purchase ammunition by the later perpetrator in Slovakia, about which the Austrian police were informed. In addition, the early release of the man who should have served a 22-month sentence after attempting to join the terrorist IS militia in Syria has become a problem. Nehammer emphasized that the 20-year-old was perfectly able to mislead his supervisors in the deradicalisation program.
“There was no deception because our employee never said the man was deradicalized,” said Derad co-founder Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw of the DPA. The Justice Department said parole after two-thirds of the sentence was the only way to require the 20-year-old to participate in the de-radicalization program for three years. If he had served his full sentence in July, no such measure would have been possible.
Diaw reported that, according to his supervisor, the 20-year-old has changed and, despite being religious, has developed strong doubts about his own correct belief. “This self-doubt also very often leads to despair,” said Diaw. Some of those affected then prayed more intensely, while others took action or wanted to leave their lives. The supervisor recorded this in one of his latest reports for the crime. He has noticed these things. What no one has noticed is that he plans to commit a bloody act in the next few days before the lockdown begins. “
Karl Nehammer, Interior Minister of Austria: It is unclear whether the hit man was sighted by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. (Source: Hans Punz / APA / dpa)
Was the terrorist the focus of the intelligence services?
The reports about the perpetrator went to the judicial authority. The Austrian Constitution Protection Office had liaison officers for them, Diaw said. Direct cooperation between the NGO and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism (BVT) ended in 2018. “We still don’t know why,” said Diaw. Nevertheless, Derad is in regular contact with the Vienna State Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Imminent danger or very dangerous recruitment would be reported to the authorities.
The Interior Ministry has not yet explicitly commented on whether the intelligence services targeted the 20-year-old after his release. Department head Karl Nehammer confirmed on Wednesday that the later hitman had gone to Slovakia with another man in July to buy ammunition. According to an internal letter from the Slovak Interior Ministry available to the APA news agency, the authorities informed their colleagues in Vienna on July 23.
Austrian police replied on September 10, identifying one of the two potential buyers as the later hitman with a criminal record for terrorism. In addition, the car was assigned to the mother of a 21-year-old known for “positive attitudes toward jihad and the Islamic State,” it said.
“In the next steps something went wrong in the communication,” said Nehammer on Wednesday. An independent commission of inquiry must clarify what happened to this information.
Security authorities now assume that the 20-year-old was the sole perpetrator of the attack. On Tuesday, 14 suspects were arrested in his area, whose possible knowledge or involvement must now be further investigated.