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Austrian rapper arrested for neo-Nazi songs tied to Halle synagogue shooting

Suspect who went by pseudonym Mr Bond held for allegedly broadcasting Nazi ideas, including track played by gunman in livestream of anti-Semitic attack that killed 2 in Germany

Two women light candles among others and flowers next to the entrance of the synagogue in Munich, during a protest against anti-Semitism on October 11, 2019 two days after a deadly shooting outside a synagogue in Halle. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)
Two women light candles among others and flowers next to the entrance of the synagogue in Munich, during a protest against anti-Semitism on October 11, 2019 two days after a deadly shooting outside a synagogue in Halle. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

VIENNA, Austria — Austrian authorities said Tuesday they have arrested a rapper accused of broadcasting neo-Nazi songs, one of which was used by the man behind a deadly anti-Semitic attack in Germany.

“The suspect has been arrested on orders of the Vienna prosecutors” and taken to prison after a search of his home, said an interior ministry statement.

Police seized a mixing desk, hard discs, weapons, a military flag from the Third Reich era and other Nazi objects during their search.

Austrian intelligence officers had been trying for months to unmask the rapper, who went by the pseudonym Mr Bond and had been posting to neo-Nazi forums since 2016.

In this  Oct. 11, 2019 file photo, candles reflect in an entrance sign after a human chain with lights was formed around the Jewish synagogue during the Sabbath celebrations in Halle (Saale), Germany, following an attack on the synagogue on Yom Kippur 2019. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)

The suspect, who comes from the southern region of Carinthia, has been detained for allegedly producing and broadcasting Nazi ideas and incitement to hatred.

“The words of his songs glorify National Socialism (Nazism) and are anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic,” said the interior ministry statement.

One of his tracks was used as the sound track during the October 2019 attack outside a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

In posts to online forums based in the United States, the rapper compared the man behind the 2019 Christchurch shootings that killed 51 people at a New Zealand mosque to a saint, and translated his racist manifesto into German.

Last September, an investigation by Austrian daily Der Standard and Germany’s public broadcaster ARD said that the musician had been calling on members of neo-Nazi online forums and chat groups to carry out terrorist attacks for several years.

They also reported that his music was used as the soundtrack to the live-streamed attack in Halle, when a man shot dead two people after a failed attempt to storm the synagogue.

Stephan Balliet, who is accused of shooting dead two people after an attempt to storm a synagogue in Halle, arrives at the district court in Magdeburg, eastern Germany on July 21, 2020. (Ronny Hartmann/various sources/AFP)

During his trial last year for the attack, 28-year-old Stephan Balliet said he had picked the music as a “commentary on the act.” In December, a German court jailed him for life.

“The fight against far-right extremism is our historical responsibility,” Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said Tuesday.

Promoting Nazi ideology is a criminal offense in Austria, which was the birth place of Adolf Hitler.

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