New Islamist Video Threatens Germany, Austria | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 20.11.2007

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New Islamist Video Threatens Germany, Austria

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said his government is taking seriously a new threat contained in an Islamist video demanding that Germany and Austria pull their troops out of Afghanistan.

Image shows 13 headshots of members of Austria's parliament with the Austrian flag in the background

This screenshot taken from the video shows Austrian politicians

In the video received by the Austrian broadcasting corporation ORF on Tuesday, Nov. 20, a group calling itself the Global Islamic Media Front indirectly threatened attacks in Germany and Austria if the two states do not pull their troops from Afghanistan.

It also demanded that Austria release two Islamists held in detention there.

Austrian Interior Ministry spokesperson Rudolf Gollia said the roughly four-minute-long video was predominantly focused on Germany and that Austria was mentioned toward the end.

Photo of a German soldier in Afghanistan holding his weapon

German soliders are part of the ISAF forces in Afghanistan

"The German soldiers still occupy Afghanistan and we repeat our call from the last video that Germany withdraw its troops from Afghanistan," the video's German subtitles say. "This only serves your own security in your country.

"The same applies to Austria too. The Mujahideen have spared you so far, therefore the number of dead soldiers is not particularly high. But this will now change..."

Germany has some 3,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF mission. Three Austrian soldiers serve as part of ISAF in Kabul.

No immediate threat

"There is no identifiable, immediate threat, but nevertheless such a message needs to be taken seriously," the ministry's Rudolf Gollia said. Austria has not raised security levels for government members depicted in the video.

The video, among other things, glorifies the terrorist attacks on the United States of Sept. 11, 2001, and announces a winter offensive of the Taliban in Afghanistan, he said.

Gollia said the video also mentions the arrest of two alleged Islamic militants in September in Vienna over another Online threat, calling their detention a "mistake."

A German shepard sniffs at a yellow suitcase

Both Germany and Austria haven't raised security levels

Schäuble said although Germany was taking the threat seriously, it did not require a reappraisal of the general security situation by the government.

ORF said it planned to air the video Tuesday evening. In an online report, ORF also said the Austrian Interior Ministry had admitted to having received a copy of the video "a few days ago" and that it was "working closely" with Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation.

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