In Austria, police arrested a 14-year-old. The girl is said to have planned a terrorist attack. The officers discovered IS propaganda material, a knife and a hatchet on her.

Police in the Austrian city of Graz have arrested a 14-year-old girl who is said to have planned a “terrorist knife attack” in the city center. As the Styria State Police Directorate further announced on Saturday, “items prepared for the crime as well as relevant propaganda material” were confiscated from the young person, including weapons and propaganda material from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia. The investigators tracked down the 14-year-old by monitoring chats.

The police also said that a tip from a European security authority originally led investigators from the Styrian State Office for State Security and Combating Extremism (LSE) on the trail of the young people from Montenegro. The 14-year-old had already prepared weapons for her attack – a hatchet and a knife – as well as clothing for the crime. She sent pictures of these to potential “like-minded people” abroad via messenger service.

The attack was intended to target “unbelievers,” the police said. During a search of the girl’s home, the intended weapons and several data storage devices were confiscated. An initial inspection revealed that the 14-year-old had collected various IS propaganda materials as well as numerous combat and execution videos. The data storage devices will now be further evaluated.

During her interrogation in the presence of a legal guardian and a defense attorney, the 14-year-old reportedly did not confess. After receiving court approval, the Graz public prosecutor ordered the 14-year-old to be arrested and transferred to a correctional facility. The girl was placed in pre-trial detention because of the risk of carrying out the crime and the risk of concealment.

In their statement, the police referred to “a clear trend towards radicalization in and via the digital space”. Young people are “particularly vulnerable to this type of extremist propaganda.” According to the Austrian news agency APA, Austria’s Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) said that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution was taking consistent action against all forms of extremism. “An extremist attack was prevented” in Graz.

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