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Terrorist Attacks

Terrorist Attacks

Terrorist attacks motivated by radical nationalism or religion have not occurred in Austria in recent years, although authorities report that the so-called terrorist group Islamic State is active in Austria. According to the Austrian intelligence community, the group poses the most significant terrorist threat to the Austrian state, and intelligence is closely monitoring fighters who have returned home to Austria after allegedly staying in places where ISIS is active, as well as radicalization trends among some Muslims, particularly young men. At the end of 2016, authorities counted 296 foreign fighters from Austria who returned from the war in Syria or Iraq.

Austrian political elites reacted harshly to the terrorist attack in Vienna in early November 2020 (four dead and more than 20 wounded). Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz proposed the introduction of a separate article "political Islam" in the state penal code. The governing coalition of the conservative People's Party and the Greens introduced a voluminous package of new counterterrorism measures, including expanding the catalog of penalties for previously convicted terrorists who have not renounced their radical ideology. This discussion did not go unnoticed in neighboring Germany, the country closest to Austria, especially since the connections of the "November" terrorists in Vienna, according to investigators, lead to Switzerland and Germany. There are also certain parallels in the biographies of the terrorists. The criminal who murdered the Dresden passerby had just been released from prison on the expiration of his sentence. The perpetrator of the attack in Vienna also managed to receive a sentence for belonging to dangerous Islamists and attempting to leave the country in order to fight for the Islamic State and was also released. The German Christian Democrats and the Alternative for Germany (AfG) party supported Kurtz's initiative. Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People's Party faction in the European Parliament and deputy chairman of the CSU in Bavaria, proposed creating a European-wide data bank of potentially dangerous Islamists and strengthening control of the EU's external borders. AfG has gone even further and declared the need for life imprisonment for terrorists.

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