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Austrian police arrest Chechen terror suspect

Authorities in Vienna have detained a Chechen believed to be linked to an Islamist terror network planning an attack on NATO facilities in Belgium.

Hands in handcuffs

The suspect lived with his family in Austria

Austrian police have detained a Chechen refugee wanted in Belgium on suspicion of planning an Islamist militant attack on NATO targets.

The man was taken into custody on December 1 when he arrived at the Vienna airport from abroad. He remains under arrest pending an expected request from Belgium for his extradition.

"Belgian authorities suspect a group of Chechen extremists who were seeking to set up a religious state in northern Chechnya planned to attack NATO facilities in Belgium," said Rudolf Gollia, spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry.

Suspect linked to November 23 arrests

Doku Umarov

The suspect is believed to have ties to Chechnya's insurgent Doku Umarov

The suspect slipped through the dragnet when police in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands swooped in on suspected plotters last month.

On November 23, police in the three countries arrested at least 10 people suspected of links to a terror group behind the Islamist website Ansar al Mujahideen.

According to local media, the man arrested in Austria was a supporter of Doku Umarov, chief of the Chechen rebel group Caucasus Emirate.

Umarov has for years led an insurgency in Chechnya with the goals shifting from independence from Moscow to establishing a full-fledged Islamist state across the Caucasus region.

Austria is home to a large Chechen community of around 20,000 expatriates split between supporters of Umarov and of pro-Russian Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Author: Andreas Illmer (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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