SHARE
COPY LINK

TERRORISM

Austrian terror suspect ‘planned to bomb Ramstein Air Base’

A 17-year-old suspected Islamic extremist who was arrested in Vienna planned to set off a pipe bomb near Ramstein Air Base in Germany but changed his mind because he didn’t want to “kill so many people,” according to a report in the weekly newspaper Falter.

Austrian terror suspect 'planned to bomb Ramstein Air Base'
Ramstein Air Base: Photo: TSGT David D. Underwood, Jr., US Air Force/Wikimedia

The teenager, identified only as Lorenz K., reportedly told police of the plan after he was arrested in Vienna on January 20th.

Falter said it had obtained a transcript of the youth’s questioning. Austria’s Interior Ministry and German police have refused to comment on the report.

According to Falter Lorenz K. told police he planned to place the bomb under a rubbish bin near Ramstein, the largest US air base overseas, in December.

“That is what I planned to do. But I did not have the heart to do it,” he was quoted as saying. “I could not … really kill so many people.”

Austrian authorities arrested Lorenz K. after receiving intelligence that he may have been planning a bomb attack in Vienna. The next day a 21-year-old man was arrested in the western German city of Neuss. Media reports said that he and Lorenz K. had experimented together with making explosives in Germany.

Lorenz K., an Austrian citizen who was born and raised in Austria, told investigators that he supported the extremist Islamic State group. The interior ministry said that he admitted to having built an experimental bomb using instructions that he found online – but that no bomb-making equipment was found at his flat.

According to Falter, it’s believed Lorenz K. was radicalized while spending time in prison in 2015 for a variety of offences. He told investigators that while he was on probation he contacted a member of the Islamic State group via Facebook.

Rather than fighting for the Islamic State in Syria he said that he “wanted to do something in Europe. I hate the German military because they participate in fights against Muslims.”

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