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Terrorist Attack on Vienna Pride Parade Thwarted

Terrorist Attack on Vienna Pride Parade Thwarted

Rainbow Parade Participants in Vienna

Three young people sympathetic to the so-called Islamic State were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to attack a Vienna Pride celebration.

Austrian authorities have announced they thwarted an attack on an LGBTQ+ Pride event in Vienna. A swift police response prevented untoward incidents during the event, attracting more than 300,000 people.

A police operation on Saturday resulted in the arrest of three people suspected of plotting an attack on the Vienna Rainbow Parade that same day. According to the head of the Austrian state security agency DSN, Omar Haijawi-Pirchner, three unidentified suspects, aged 14, 17, and 20, were arrested just hours before the parade started.

Haijawi-Pirchner says those arrested were Austrians of Bosnian or Chechen origin who sympathized with the so-called Islamic State, the German news program Tagesschau reports.

A report by the Austrian television network ORF suggests the secret services knew about the suspects’ plans and had monitored them.

Police arrested the suspects at their homes on the instruction of the public prosecutor’s office in St. Pölten. Multiple weapons and storage devices were seized during raids in Vienna and Southern Austria. According to the Austrian Ministry of Interior, the three suspects communicated online and circulated extremist materials.

Their plan would have been to attack the Pride event with knives or vehicles, according to Tagesschau.

Among the suspects, one was previously under investigation for terrorism.

More than 300,000 spectators came out for the parade.

Authorities said they were not in danger due to the close monitoring of the trio. News of the arrests didn't come out until Sunday, according to ORF. The authorities wanted to avoid panic since the suspects were already in custody.

That's ultimately the goal of terrorism, to cause anxiety and fear in the public. It's also our job not to let that happen," Haijawi-Pirchner said, according to the BBC.

Vienna’s Rainbow Parade was celebrating its 27th year.

Participants at such events always present an intense target for “Islamist or right-wing extremist scenes,” said the head of the Vienna State Police, Gerhard Pürstl.

Haijawi-Pirchner said there had been a renewed call for attacks from the Islamic State.

"There are calls to carry out attacks in Europe again and Europol [European police organisation] just a few days ago published a report to that effect," Haijawi-Pirchner said. "We are taking this very seriously."

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