The police in Austria have arrested two suspects with potential links to the Paris attacks at a refugee shelter in Salzburg, the prosecutor’s office there revealed on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, “two people who arrived from the Middle East were arrested at the weekend in accommodation for refugees on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organisation,” a spokesman for the Salzburg prosecutor’s office Robert Holzleitner said.
“As part of the preliminary investigation, evidence suggesting a connection with the Paris attacks is being verified.
The men came into contact with the Paris attackers in Austria, local newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten reported, adding the pair were found based on information provided by a foreign intelligence service.
While Robert Holzleitner from the prosecutor’s office declined to name the nationalities of the two suspects, noting only that they had arrived from the Middle East, the Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported them as being French nationals with Algerian and Pakistani backgrounds, according to Xinhua.
They had allegedly been posing as asylum seekers and had reportedly entered Europe via the Greek island of Leros in October on fake Syrian passports, in the same group as Islamic State members who went on to carry out the Paris attacks which killed 130 people in November.
The arrest took place with the help of French intelligence services. Holzleitner said their links to the Paris attacks were now being investigated by both Austrian and French authorities, including suspicions they were planning to carry out further attacks.
Another report from Reuters said French police arrested two men and a woman in connection with the deadly attacks on Paris last month and in January.
In a separate event that highlighted the knock-on impact of tensions over Islamist violence, a teacher who claimed to have been stabbed by a man on Monday acting in the name of Islamic State militants was hospitalised after admitting to police that he had invented the story, prosecutors said.
Islamic State, has stated that teachers in France’s secular state-schooling system should be killed for promoting what it called the evils of secular life, music and drawing.