Vienna, Oct 15 (IANS) Austria is under “a certain kind” of threat of terrorist attacks from the extremist group of Islamic State (IS), a senior security official said.
“About 150 people, most of whom have Russian citizenship and are believed to be Chechens, have travelled from Austria to take part in conflicts in Syria and Iraq,” Peter Gridling, director of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter Terrorism, said in an interview to the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, reported Xinhua.
In addition, a number of others with Turkish, Bosnian, Egyptian, Macedonian and Serbian backgrounds have also taken part in the conflicts, he said, adding that 15 to 20 percent of them are believed to have Austrian citizenship.
“Additionally, there are an even larger number of people in the country – perhaps thousands – who either approve of the activities of these individuals or are not explicitly opposed to them, although they would not necessarily commit themselves to terrorist plots,” he added.
The director pointed out that most Muslims in Austria are opposed to terrorism, and most mosques and prayer houses are not believed to be part of the radicalisation process, with only 20 of the 360 such establishments in the country causing concern.
With regard to whether IS would attack Europe, he said that as long as the military advances of the group are stopped, there is no reason for it to make strikes in Europe.