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TERRORISM

Missing Vienna girl ‘beaten to death’ by Isis

A teenage girl from Vienna who ran away to join Isis fighters in Syria was reportedly beaten to death after trying to escape from the violent Islamic State group in Raqqa.

Missing Vienna girl 'beaten to death' by Isis
Photo: APA/EPA/INTERPOL

17-year-old Samra and her friend, 15-year-old Sabina, travelled to Syria together last year to join Isis – both are now believed to be dead.

Reports in the Österreich and Kronen Zeitung tabloids cite ‘insider’ sources who say Samra was beaten to death but the interior and foreign ministries have not confirmed this.

“We cannot comment on individual cases,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Thomas Schnöll told the Austria Press Agency. Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck also said that he could not comment on the matter.

The report in the Kronen Zeitung quotes a Tunisian woman who also travelled to Syria to join the jihadists last year but later escaped and returned home. She told the newspaper that she lived with Samra and Sabina in Raqqa.

Rumours about the girls' fate also circulated late last year, with an Israeli expert from the UN saying that one had been killed fighting in Syria and the other had disappeared.

Photos of both girls appeared on social networking sites, with them holding Kalashnikov rifles and surrounded by armed men – images which Austrian police said were meant to recruit young girls to join Isis.

CRIME

Case dropped against second Swiss man over Vienna attack ‘links’

Swiss prosecutors said Thursday they had dropped the case against a second Swiss man over alleged links to a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna due to a lack of evidence.

Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which last month decided to drop the case against one suspect, told AFP it had issued a discontinuation order in the case against a second man.

On November 2, 2020, convicted Islamic State sympathiser Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people in Vienna before being shot dead by police.

It was the first major attack in Austria in decades and the first blamed on a jihadist.

Two Swiss citizens who knew Fejzulai were arrested in the northeastern Swiss town of Winterthur just a day after the attack on suspicion they may have helped in its preparation.

‘How was it possible?’ Austrians left asking painful questions after Vienna terror shootings

The two, who were aged 18 and 24 at the time, were known to the police and were the targets of prior criminal cases over terror-linked offences.

The OAG acknowledged Thursday that no evidence had emerged that either man had participated in any way or had prior knowledge of the attack.

The older of the two men was meanwhile hit with a penalty in a separate case with no links to the Vienna file, the OAG said.

The penalty order, seen by Swiss media, indicated that he had been found guilty of violating Switzerland’s law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and related organisations and of being in possession of “depictions of violence”.

According to the ATS news agency, an IS group video was found on his phone depicting people being executed and decapitated.

He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,100, 950 euros), and three years’ probation, ATS said.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

In light of this penalty, he would not be compensated for the 176 days he spent behind bars after his arrest following the Vienna attack, it added.

The OAG said a separate case was still pending against the younger of the two men, also on suspicion he breached the Swiss law banning Al-Qaeda, IS and related organisations, and over “allegations of depictions of violence”. “The presumption of innocence applies,” it stressed.

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