Austria: Imam alleged to recruit Islamic fighters

AP News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2014 11:43 AM

VIENNA (AP) — An Islamic preacher has been arrested on suspicion of recruiting young Chechens living in Austria to fight for Islam in Syria.

State prosecutor Hansjoerg Bacher says the 41-year old man is believed to have persuaded at least eight young men to join a radical Islamic group fighting the regime in Syria.

Bacher said Wednesday that four are believed to have died in Syrian fighting. He couldn't confirm a report by the weekly Profil magazine that two others are missing.

Bacher declined to identify the suspect in line with Austrian confidentiality laws.

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Profil said the men recruited by the Chechnya-born suspect joined the al-Qaida-linked insurgency al-Nusra Front.

Austria's federal police say that 10 of the approximately 80 Austrian residents who have gone to fight in Syria have died there.