BERLIN (AP) — Austrian security officials said Tuesday they have broken up a suspected terror cell linked to the Islamic State group that consisted of nine young men and one woman. One suspect was detained.
The investigations and interrogations carried out so far show that the suspects have an attitude that is between “fundamental Islamic” and “terrorist,” Austria’s domestic intelligence service DSN said in a statement. It did not reveal any further details about the suspects, saying it is still conducting further investigations.
The suspects, who are aged between 15 and 23 and live near the city of Linz in northern Austria, allegedly “have been recruiting for the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) and its criminal activities for a long time,” the intelligence service said.
“In addition, they planned to establish a mosque or prayer room under the sign of a decorative Taliban flag through missionary and recruitment activities,” the statement said.
The identities of the suspects were not given in line with Austrian privacy rules, but Austria’s APA news agency reported that the suspects are from Austria, Turkey, Iraq, Russia and Croatia or are stateless.
During house searches at the beginning of July, dozens of cell phones, laptops, PCs, other data carriers and propaganda material were seized.
The public prosecutor’s office in Linz ordered the detention of one of the suspects, an 18-year-old, on the grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing or committing crimes. The other suspects are under investigation.
The DSN said the group was allegedly also linked to the Caucasus Emirate, which is an Islamic extremist group operating in Russia’s Caucasus, but the agency did not give any further details on that accusation.
The group is also accused of having encouraged a 19-year-old who sprayed IS graffiti and committed further damage to property in St. Poelten, west of Vienna.