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Germany raids homes of 2 acquaintances of Vienna attacker

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BERLIN (AP) — German investigators on Wednesday raided the homes of two acquaintances of an Islamic State group sympathizer who carried out a deadly shooting in Vienna in November, prosecutors said.

The two men may have known about gunman Kujtim Fejzulai’s plans for the attack and failed to inform authorities, instead erasing material on their cellphones and social media platforms to cover up their connections to Fejzulai, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Four people were killed in the attack on Nov. 2 and the gunman also died. Twenty others, including a police officer, were wounded. Fejzulai, a dual national of Austria and North Macedonia, had a previous conviction for trying to join IS in Syria.

Prosecutors identified the men whose homes were searched Wednesday in Osnabrueck and Kassel only as Kosovo citizen Blinor S. and German citizen Drilon G., in keeping with German privacy rules. Prosecutors didn’t say whether the pair had been arrested.

They said that the two are Islamic radicals and had been in close contact with Fejzulai via social media. They visited him in Vienna for several days in July 2020, shortly after he had acquired the weapon he used in the attack, and met with other radicals from Austria and Switzerland, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors alleged that, given their “close personal relationship” with Fejzulai and their own radical views, both men knew by the time the visit was over that it was possible he would act on his intentions to carry out an attack. They said that the pair started erasing material linking them to the assailant on the evening of Nov. 2, before the attack began.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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