Friday, March 29, 2019

Two Germany rail sabotage suspects detained in Prague

Czech authorities said Thursday they had detained two Iraqi terror suspects, a man and a woman, wanted by Austria over their role in 2018 attacks on trains in Germany.The arrest came on the heels of Monday's detention of a 42-year-old Iraqi in Vienna, also suspected in the case. "Based on a European warrant issued by... Vienna... Czech police detained two foreigners shortly after their arrival at Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague," Czech police said in a tweet. They said the two were placed in a police cell and that a court would decide on their extradition to Austria.Marketa Puci, spokeswoman for the Municipal Court in Prague, said the court had received a custody request from prosecutors, on which it has to decide within 24 hours. "The request concerns two Iraqi citizens, a man and a woman," Puci told AFP. Also on Thursday, Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said in parliament that the two suspects "formed a cell together with the Iraqi". The detained are suspected of having strung a steel rope across the tracks between the southern German cities of Munich and Nuremberg, damaging the front window of a train in October last year. A similar case occurred in December last year near Berlin when an overhead electrical line was damaged. No one was injured in either incident. Vienna prosecutors said a technical error prevented casualties, adding that writings in Arabic and an Islamic State (IS) flag near the crime scenes established a suspected "terrorist" motive. The Iraqi has admitted involvement in the two incidents but has denied any terrorist motive for the crimes, which would carry a maximum life-long prison sentence. Austrian and German authorities worked together leading to Monday's arrest, according to a press release by criminal investigators in Germany's southern state of Bavaria. Austrian media reported the Iraqi father of five was working at a security company with access to football stadiums. Germany is on alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years. The most deadly was committed in 2016 by 23-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri, who killed 12 people when he stole a truck and ploughed it into a Berlin Christmas market.

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