German Islamic State Member Played Central Role in Vienna Attacker Network

Inhabitants light candles as they pay tribute to the victims of the attack at one of the crime scenes at Seitenstettengasse in the city centre of Vienna on November 7, 2020. - The Austrian government ordered the closure on November 6 of two mosques in the capital Vienna frequented by …

A German member of the Islamic State may have played a central role in a network which the Vienna terrorist was also a part off, according to Austrian media.

The man, a former Hamburg resident identified by his initials W.A., is a German citizen who was arrested and convicted in 2017 of being a “foreign terrorist fighter” and is believed to have moved to Vienna in January of this year.

According to a report from Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung, the German was the centre of a transnational radical Islamic extremist network that also included radicals living in the Swiss city of Winterthur who were arrested following the Vienna terrorist attack earlier this month.

W.A. was arrested prior to the Vienna terror attack in October in the Austrian capital and deported back to Germany. According to the newspaper he used internet messaging services to keep in touch with fellow extremists including Vienna attacker Kujtim Fejzulla.

Investigators are still looking into allegations he may have also been plotting a terrorist attack but the 22-year-old has been described as a “switchboard” for Islamic radicals across Europe.

Kujtim Fejzulla is also said to have had contact with a Turkish Islamic State supporter who has been in custody in Austria since October as well. Text messages gathered during the investigation of the Turkish extremist reveal connections to both the Vienna attacker and his circle.

The Vienna terrorist attack, which saw four people gunned down and murdered in the centre of the city, comes after several other Islamic terror attacks in France just weeks prior in Yvelines and in a church in the city of Nice.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed to tackle both terrorism and the ideologies of political Islam in the wake of the attack and urged the European Union to do the same.

Last week, Kurz announced his government would look to outlaw political Islamic ideologies by creating new laws to prosecute those who propagate ideas he called a “breeding ground” for terrorism.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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