On Monday morning, police officers and intelligence agencies carried out raids in four Austrian federal states against people and associations that are supposed to support the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. This was announced by the Graz public prosecutor. More than 70 suspects are being investigated, 60 apartments, houses, business and club premises were searched. As a result, 30 people were arrested, they are to be brought before the authorities “for immediate questioning”.
The Graz public prosecutor’s office is investigating more than 70 suspects and also against several associations and companies. There is suspicion of a terrorist organization, terrorist financing, anti-state connections, criminal organization and money laundering. The authorities did not want to provide any further details.
According to the public prosecutor’s office, the action was preceded by “extensive and intensive investigations lasting over a year” by the leading State Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (LVT) Styria together with LVT Vienna. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism (BVT) was also involved.
The public prosecutor emphasizes that the raids “have no connection with the terrorist attack in Vienna on November 2”. According to reports in Austrian media, the action is said to have been in preparation for a long time under the name According to the Styrian police, several hundred officials across Austria were involved in the action. It started at 5 a.m. In addition to the regular units, there were also special forces such as service dog handlers, criminal police officers and people from the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Electronic devices such as cell phones and computers, but also simple documents, were seized. In Styria there were house searches in Graz, the Graz area and in the Liezen district. The action was as good as complete around 8:30 a.m., according to a police spokesman.
According to the public prosecutor’s office, the Muslim Brotherhood is a “global, radical Islamist and massively anti-Jewish” organization. Their goal is to establish an Islamic state. Even if the organization outwardly speaks of renouncing violence, the investigators believe that it should maintain contacts with terrorist groups, such as the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. It also has close ideological and financial ties to radical Islamist groups in the Syrian-Iraqi civil war.
In its broadcast, the public prosecutor emphasizes that the action is not directed against Muslims or their religious community. It serves to protect Muslims, “whose religion is abused to spread anti-constitutional ideologies”.