Austrian authorities arrest 13 suspected jihadists in major operation

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-11-29 11:55:39

Austrian authorities arrested 13 suspects and conducted numerous house searches as part of a large-scale crackdown on suspected jihadists on Friday.

The operation began in the early hours of Friday morning, with 16 persons targeted for arrest on the basis of suspicion of membership of terrorist organizations involved in the recruitment of young people for the Syrian civil war.

Around 900 police officers from almost all Austrian states were involved in the operation in the cities of Vienna, Graz, and Linz, with Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner referring to it as one of the "largest operations in the history of Austrian state security."

The operation was initiated through Ministry of the Interior intelligence that indicated numerous persons were involved in radicalization of young Muslims, suspicions that intensified upon further investigation.

During the house searches, terrorist propaganda material was seized, along with other items including data storage devices, cash and brass knuckles.

The chief suspect was a Serbian national who was arrested in Vienna, with Bosnian media reporting he was born in the small Serbian town of Tutin but later moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the Wahhabi movement.

Austrian reports suggested a second individual -- a Bosnian national and preacher in the city of Graz -- was also a prime suspect. Police have not yet officially revealed the details of those arrested.

Upon conclusion of the operation, Mikl-Leitner spoke of a "remarkable success" and as a "major blow against jihadists." She told the Oe1 Mittagsjournal radio program the investigations leading up to the operation had been running for over a year.

Posted in: Europe

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