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Security forces foil attack on Vienna pride parade

Austrian authorities foiled a possible attack on Vienna's Pride parade by three young men.

Austrian authorities foiled a possible attack on Vienna's Pride parade by three young men. Photo: AP

Austrian authorities say they foiled a possible attack on Vienna’s Pride parade by three young men who allegedly sympathised with the Islamic State extremist group.

The head of Austria’s domestic intelligence service told reporters the suspects, aged 14, 17 and 20, were arrested before the start of Saturday’s Pride parade, attended by about 300,000 people, public broadcaster ORF reported.

Omar Haijawi-Pirchner from the State Protection and Intelligence Directorate said there was “no danger for the participants of the parade at any time”.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer expressed his gratitude to the investigators for preventing “a possible Islamist attack in Vienna.”

“This shows once again that we must never give in in the fight against radicals and extremists,” Nehammer tweeted.

“They are a threat to our democracy and security and must be dealt with severely.”

Vienna’s mayor expressed shock.

“There must be no place for hate and exclusion in Vienna. Our city is colourful and cosmopolitan,” Michael Ludwig told Austrian news agency APA.

The intelligence service had received advance knowledge of the suspects’ alleged plans, kept them “under constant control,” and arrested them on the orders of the public prosecutor’s office following house searches on Saturday that uncovered various evidence, including weapons, ORF reported.

The three suspects, Austrian citizens of Bosnian and Chechen origin whose identities were not further revealed, had radicalised online and sympathised with the Islamic State group, Haijawi-Pirchner said.

The trio was arrested before the start of the parade by Austria’s Cobra special forces.

The Pride parade organisers were only informed about the events on Sunday, after the police raid had already taken place, ORF reported.

“We will not let the enemies of rights for LGBTQI people, democracy and an open society get us down,” the parade’s organising team told APA.

-Reuters

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