Austria arrests 11 on suspicion of belonging to Islamic State

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jan 26, 2017 7:23 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian police arrested 11 people on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to the militant group Islamic State following raids in Vienna and the southern city of Graz, prosecutors said.

Around 800 police officers took part in the raids, the Graz prosecutors' office said in a statement, adding that the coordinated action had been planned for some time.

The statement gave few details, but a spokesman said the people taken into custody included three Austrians with foreign roots, two Bosnians, a Syrian and a Macedonian. The nationalities of the other suspects were not immediately known.

"There was no acute danger" and no indications of a concrete attack, the spokesman said, adding that the detentions were not connected to the arrest of an Austrian teenager last week on suspicion of planning an Islamist attack in Vienna.

That suspect, a 17-year-old with Albanian roots, was arrested on Friday after tip-offs from unspecified foreign countries. Austria alerted Germany to a related suspect, a 21-year-old who was arrested in the western German city of Neuss on Saturday. A boy thought to be 12 has also been held in Austria.

German authorities have been on high alert since a Tunisian failed asylum seeker rammed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin on Dec. 19, killing 12 people.

Police in Vienna have also been on heightened alert since Friday's arrest and have increased patrols at transport hubs and other busy public places.

(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich in Vienna and Michael Shields in Zurich; Editing by Gareth Jones)