Vienna ‘jihad’ teenager wants to come home

One of two Viennese teenagers who are thought to be fighting with the militant extremist movement Islamic State (Isis) near Raqqa in Syria wants to return to Austria, according to a report in the Österreich newspaper.

Vienna 'jihad' teenager wants to come home
Sabina (L) and Samra (R). Photo: APA/Interpol

The two girls, 16-year-old Samra and 15-year-old Sabina, are both of Bosnian origin and left Vienna in April, telling their parents in a letter that they wanted to “fight for Islam”.

Samra, who is thought to have married a Chechen, wants to come home according to an inside source, as she has seen too much of the horrors of war.

Both Samra and Sabina are reported to be in an area where they will have experienced public floggings, beheadings and frequent air attacks.

Both girls, but especially Samra, are said to be in contact with their families. Sabina  is reportedly not ready to return to Austria.

Last month Samra was rumoured to have been killed in Syria, but she then got in touch with friends via the social media tool WhatsApp.

Experts warn that an escape from Isis is “virtually impossible”, although a Syrian woman did recently manage to flee from Isis in Turkey.

The Austrian government is working hard to tackle an increasing problem with its residents traveling to conflict zones to participate in holy war, or 'jihad.'  

It has announced a series of measures to restrict the banned Isis organization, as well as proposals to withdraw citizenship or asylum status from returned fighters.

The Interior Ministry estimates 142 Austrians, including 12 women, have so far joined the ranks of jihadists in Syria.


Terror threat in Vienna: Syrian communities said to be targeted

Austrian police have released few details on the terror threat alert but confirmed that the threat level is still considered elevated, particularly concerning Syrian institutions.

Terror threat in Vienna: Syrian communities said to be targeted

Vienna police have confirmed that the terror threat is still considered to be elevated in the Austrian capital. 

In particular, due to the anniversary of the civil war in Syria, the authorities consider that primarily Syrian communities and institutions are threatened, according to a short statement on Twitter. The preventive measures ordered by the Vienna Regional Police Directorate will therefore remain in place for the time being.

“As soon as the respective assessments indicate an easing of the situation, we will be able to reduce our security measures”, the police said.

On Wednesday, Vienna authorities announced its Directorate for State Security & Intelligence received information that an “Islamist-motivated attack” was planned in Vienna and decided to increase surveillance and guards in specific points in the capital, as The Local reported.

In a short post on Twitter, the police said that, because of that, uniformed police forces are visible in public space, consisting of district forces and special opration forces WEGA and EKO Cobra.

“The duration of this increased property protection cannot be estimated at this time.”, the police said. 

It added: “If there is a specific danger to the population at a specific location, the LPD Vienna will immediately issue a warning via all available channels.

Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) did not provide any information on the threat situation in Vienna on Thursday morning when asked during a media appointment when he visited the Cybercrime Competence Center of the Federal Criminal Police Office. Instead, he referred to the communication by the provincial police directorate, broadcaster ORF reported.