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Driver in Vienna 'shouting Allahu Akbar' tries to run over pedestrians

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Photo: Paul Gillingwater
10:08 CEST+02:00
Police in Vienna are investigating whether a 21-year-old man who tried to run over pedestrians with his car on Thursday morning had a terrorist motive.

Nobody was injured, as the people he targeted managed to jump out of the car’s path in time.

“He was obviously aiming at and trying to hit pedestrians,” police spokesman  Thomas Keiblinger told Radio Wien. “Witnesses said that they heard him shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ out of the car window, which was open,” he added.

The incident happened at around 11:00 am in the district of Favoriten.

According to Austrian media the driver was born and lives in Vienna and has a Turkish background. The man was detained by police shortly after the incident. Keiblinger said he continued to shout Allahu Akbar as he was arrested.

Authorities are now investigating whether he might have had religious or political motives, but say that so far they have not found any links to extremist groups. According to police he has not yet made any statements.

Officers who searched his apartment and seized computers and mobile phones say they were attacked by his brother who was in the property at the time. He was also arrested and later released. 

The incident came on the same day as a court in Graz sentenced a 27-year-old man to life imprisonment after he deliberately ran over and killed three people last June. Alen R. was sentenced to be sent to a facility for mentally unstable criminals.

However the court ruling was invalidated as prosecutors failed to deliver their statement. The man’s lawyer says she will file an appeal.

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