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Nine jihadists placed into remand

The Local · 22 Aug 2014, 09:35

Published: 22 Aug 2014 09:35 GMT+02:00

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Nine out of the ten suspects arrested on Wednesday, as they were trying to leave Austria, have now been detained. A 17-year-old was earlier released.

They are charged with "participating in a terrorist organisation", and planning to join Islamic terrorists at war in Syria.

Vienna court spokeswoman Christina Salzborn said they were detained as they are considered to be a flight risk, and may try and travel to Syria.

Five of the suspects were arrested in Carinthia and will now be transferred to Vienna. Most of them are refugees from Chechnya, and Salzborn has said they will be taken to different prisons in Vienna.

According to the news daily Die Presse ten people were arrested on Wednesday, nine of them refugees from Chechnya, and one a people smuggler with an Austrian passport and Turkish roots.

The spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office in Vienna, Nina Bussek, confirmed that the police had initially arrested ten people but refused to give any information pertaining to their nationality.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (People's Party/ÖVP) had said there must be a "zero-tolerance policy against jihadists".

However, she warned against lumping together all asylum seekers. On the contrary, "refugees of war, who daily enter Europe, are fleeing from jihadists and they need our protection."

According to the Federal Office against Terrorism and for Protection of the Constitution (BVT) there are around 130 Austrians suspected of fighting in Syria.

Story continues below…

Some of the fighters have already returned to Austria. The BVT has classified them as dangerous. 20 fighters are believed to have died in combat.

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