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May Today in Terrorism

May 1, 1981: Assassination of city councillor in Vienna

On May 1, 1981 Vienna city Councillor Heinz Nittel, co-founder of the Austrian Jewish Welcome Service, was assassinated

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – As much as we loathe terrorism we have to acknowledge that some are so dedicated as to kill and kill again.

It has been my experience that the vast majority of terrorists are one-shot deals. They plan for the ‘big event’, carry it off (if they are not completely incompetent!) and that’s it. Sometimes they are only capable of one attack because, well, because they kill themselves in the process (or are killed by law enforcement/security forces). Oh well, as I always say, a dead terrorist is a good terrorist!

Like I said… (Photo: Surian Soosay on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Sometimes though, terrorists live to tell the tale – and kill again.

On this day in 1981

Vienna city Councillor Heinz Nittel, co-founder of the Austrian Jewish Welcome Service, was assassinated. He was killed outside his home by 21-year old Hesham Mohammed Rajeh who had been born in Iraq.

The terrorist was not finished.

Nearly four months later Rajeh was part of a duo that launched a machine-gun and grenade attack that killed two people and wounded 30 at a downtown synagogue. The victims had been attending a bar mitzvah. In January 1982 a Vienna court sentenced Rajeh and his accomplice, 25-year old Jordanian Marwan Hasan to life imprisonment.

Two cowardly murders, three deaths. Life in jail is too good for people like this.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

2 replies on “May 1, 1981: Assassination of city councillor in Vienna”

Hi Phil,

Thanks for this website. It has relevant information that as a director of a new security company here in Santa Monica, California I can use.

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