Crime & Justice

Austrian government closes two mosques linked to Vienna attacker

Vienna, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- The Austrian government on Friday ordered the closure of two mosques in Vienna where the perpetrator of Monday’s Islamist attack which left four people dead and more than 20 wounded is believed to have been radicalized.

The government announced the closures after agreeing to the measure with the Muslim Community of Austria (IGGÖ), the biggest Muslim association in the country and which manages one of the mosques.

“These are religious centers that attack our values and we cannot allow that,” Austrian minister of integration, Susanne Raab, said at a press conference.

The minister insisted that the measures are not directed at the Muslims of Austria, saying that they are “the most threatened by Islamism”.

The closures are based on intelligence that pointed to these two mosques as having contributed to the radicalization of the assailant, a 20-year-old man who was born in Vienna.

Raab said action must be taken against those who “preach hatred and glorify violence” and who recruit and entice disoriented young people.

Meanwhile, interior minister Karl Nehammer acknowledged that “intolerable mistakes” were made when the intentions of the attacker went undetected, despite his known links to radical Islamist groups and a warning from Slovakian police that he had traveled over the border to try to buy ammunition for an assault rifle.

The Vienna regional head of the anti-terrorist intelligence unit has stepped down while inquiries are conducted into the intelligence oversight.

Six of the 16 people arrested in connection with the Islamist attack have been released after suspicions against them were not confirmed, the Vienna Prosecutor’s Office said Friday.

Preventive detention has been requested for another eight suspects and a decision is pending, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office told the national APA agency. The other two detainees have not yet been sent to jail.

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