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Austria: Imam alleged to recruit Islamic fighters

  • A Syrian man reacts as residents and rescue workers search the rubble for survivors on May 27, 2014 following a reported air strike by government forces in the al-Maghayer al-Qadima (Old Caves) neighbourhood in Aleppo. AFP PHOTO / BARAA AL-HALABI

VIENNA: An Islamic preacher has been arrested on suspicion of recruiting young Chechens living in Austria to fight for Islam in Syria.

State prosecutor Hansjoerg Bacher says the 41-year old man is believed to have persuaded at least eight young men to join a radical Islamic group fighting the regime in Syria.

Bacher said Wednesday that four are believed to have died in Syrian fighting. He couldn't confirm a report by the weekly Profil magazine that two others are missing.

Bacher declined to identify the suspect in line with Austrian confidentiality laws.

Profil said the men recruited by the Chechnya-born suspect joined the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgency Al-Nusra Front.

Austria's federal police say that 10 of the approximately 80 Austrian residents who have gone to fight in Syria have died there.

 
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