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TERRORISM

Two Austrians injured in Egypt stabbing

Two elderly Austrian tourists were among three foreigners injured in a stabbing at a luxury hotel in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Two Austrians injured in Egypt stabbing
Photo: Bella Vista Hotel

According to foreign ministry sources, the pair were staying at the Bella Vista hotel, when they and a Swedish tourist were attacked by two suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

Security forces were quick to intervene, and killed one of the attackers, seriously wounding the other.  Subsequent reports suggest the second attacker may have died from his injuries.

Hurghada is in a state of high alert, with all roads into the resort town closed while security forces search for other possible suspects.

Spokesman Thomas Schnöll from the Austrian foreign ministry announced that it is sending consular assistance to help the victims, as well as facilitating the travel arrangements for any other Austrians who may wish to leave Egypt urgently.

He further mentioned that the Austrian couple were not seriously wounded, and have now been discharged from hospital.

Austria is considering changing its travel advice regarding the country, in the wake of a series of attacks targeting tourists, with the biggest disaster including the apparent shooting down of a Russian passenger jet by ISIS-affiliated militants, with the loss of 224 lives.

According to witnesses, the attackers were carrying an ISIS flag, and were attempting to kidnap tourists at knifepoint.

The attacker who was killed was apparently wearing a suicide vest.  Both attackers apparently arrived via sea. According to Egyptian authorities, the dead terrorist has been identified as a 21-year-old student from the Giza neighbourhood of Cairo.

Egypt remains in a struggle against Islamic terrorists based in the Sinai Peninsula. The country's tourism industry is in a parlous state after the attacks, with many tourists canceling travel to the region.

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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