Austrian Police To Guard Places Of Worship Amid Terrorism Probe

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Austrian police stepped up their presence at places of worship on Thursday, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said, citing new findings about the militants who killed four people in Vienna’s city centre in early November.

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“According to the investigation results, we cannot rule out that the perpetrator also wanted to target victims in churches,” Nehammer told a news conference, without offering any concrete information.

The goal was to prevent copycat attacks in this “sensitive phase following the terrorist attack,” Nehammer said.

Police intelligence agents would draw up protection plans with various religious communities, according to Nehammer, who said that there are several thousand places of worship in Austria.

On Nov. 2, Kujtim Fejzulai shot four people dead and injured more than 20 on the streets of central Vienna before he was killed by police.

The attacker, who held Austrian and North Macedonian citizenship, had been on parole, following an attempt to join Islamic State extremist fighters in Syria.

Nehammer has been under political pressure because of revelations that police intelligence agents knew before the attack that Fejzulai met Islamists from abroad and tried to buy ammunition in July.

Prosecutors are investigating 21 possible accomplices who allegedly contributed to the crime but did not take part in the shooting spree.

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