Austria nabs teen for allegedly planning terror attack on Vienna synagogue

Interior minister says 16-year-old wrote in online chat he wanted weapon to carry out attack; authorities find guides for making bombs, weapons in home

File: A police van drives past Fiaker horses at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, March 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Heinz-Peter Bader)
File: A police van drives past Fiaker horses at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, March 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Heinz-Peter Bader)

A 16-year-old has been arrested for allegedly planning to attack a synagogue in Vienna, Austria’s top security official said Monday.

The teenager, who was arrested Thursday, had announced in online chats that he intended to procure a weapon to attack an unspecified synagogue in Vienna, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said. He had already obtained the financial means for the attack, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Officials did not identify the suspect. They said he lived near Steyr in northern Austria.

His home was searched and several electronic data carriers were seized, APA reported.

Authorities also found images and video material with instructions for making bombs, weapons, and ammunition, APA said.

In November 2020, four people were killed by several gunmen in a terror shooting at several locations in Vienna, beginning outside a synagogue.

File: Police officers stay in position at stairs named ‘Theodor Herzl Stiege’ near a synagogue after gunshots were heard in Vienna, November 2, 2020. (Photo/Ronald Zak)

Austrian authorities have beefed up security for synagogues and other Jewish and Israeli institutions following an increase in antisemitic incidents in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, which was sparked by the devastating October 7 onslaught in which Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern communities, murdering 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped some 240 to the Gaza Strip.

Israel then launched a military offensive aimed at eliminating Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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