Friday 12/4/20
TERRORISM

Austria cracks down with raids on Muslim Brotherhood

The investigations focus on more than 70 people suspected of belonging to terrorist and criminal organizations, financing terrorism or money laundering.
Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer speaks during a press conference with the title "Today's police measures". Photo: Roland Schlager/dpa.
Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer speaks during a press conference with the title "Today's police measures". Photo: Roland Schlager/dpa.

Austrian police raided more than 60 premises linked to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Hamas movement as part of a terrorist investigation on Monday, the prosecution in the city of Graz said.

The investigations, which have been going on for a year, focus on more than 70 persons suspected of belonging to terrorist and criminal organizations, financing terrorism or money laundering, according to a statement.

The prosecutors stressed that the raids were not linked to the 2 November terrorist attack in Vienna, in which a shooter who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants killed four and injured more than 20 people.

The raids were conducted in Vienna and the provinces of Styria, Carinthia, Lower Austria and Styria, with interrogations of 30 suspects.

"Investigations have shown so far that the Muslim Brotherhood is a globally active, radical Islamist, extremely anti-Semitic organization," the prosecutors said, charging that the group aims to "set up an Islamic state on the basis of Islamic law in all countries on earth."

Relations with terrorists

"While the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and North America claims to pursue its aims with non-violent means, it maintains relations with terrorist organizations" such as Hamas, the extremist organization that has de facto control of the Gaza Strip, the prosecution said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt, where it was originally founded.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer called the raids a blow against "the breeding ground of extremism."

The Interior Ministry recently admitted to a string of intelligence analysis blunders related to the Vienna terrorist attack. Opposition parties have asked Nehammer to resign.

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