SHARE
COPY LINK

TERRORISM

Austria charges two men accused of Paris attacks link

Austria's state prosecutor has charged a Moroccan and an Algerian with intent to take part in the November 13 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead.

Austria charges two men accused of Paris attacks link
Salzburg. Photo: Gryffindor/Wikimedia

The prosecutor's office in the western city of Salzburg said the unnamed pair, aged 26 and 40, were presumed accomplices of the Islamic State (Isis) cell behind the coordinated killings.

He added the men were arrested at a refugee centre in Salzburg near the German border on December 18 over suspected membership of Isis and have been charged with “participation in a terrorist organisation, Isis.”

The pair are thought to have provided logistical assistance and “information on establishing contacts” to two other suspected members of the Paris cell, 29-year-old Algerian Adel Haddadi and Mohamad Usman, a 35-year-old Pakistani.

The latter pair were arrested at the same refugee centre on December 10 and extradited to France in July.

Investigators believe Haddadi and Usman travelled to the Greek island of Leros on October 3 on the same boat full of refugees with two men who took part in the November 13 attacks.

Those two, thought to be Iraqis, blew themselves up outside the Stade de France, one of a series of assaults by around 10 people in the French capital.

Haddadi and Usman were held up, detained by Greek authorities for 25 days because they had falsified Syrian passports.

Once let go, they followed the main migrant trail and eventually made it to Austria some days after the Paris attacks.

Another man, Moroccan Abid Tabaouni, arrested in Belgium in July and believed linked to Haddadi and Usman – allegedly refugee centre roommates – was extradited to Austria last month.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS