A boy-terrorist believed to be 12 years old has been identified as one of several Muslims arrested for being part of an Islamic terror network in Vienna, Austria, authorities said.
While authorities have not released the boy’s age, authorities said he is not old enough to be tried in court – a person must be 14 to be tried in Austria – and local reports say that the boy is 12.
Authorities said that the young boy had been radicalized by a ‘hate preacher’ and was in close contact with a 17-year-old terrorist who was arrested last week.
On January 20, Austrian authorities arrested 17-year-old Muslim with a migrant background in a Vienna apartment on suspicion he had planned an attack. It is believed the teen-terrorist, identified only as Lorenz K, had been in touch with jihadists in Albania.
Authorities announced on Monday that a 21-year-old was also arrested in Germany with connections to the terror attack plan.
German security police arrested the man and a woman during a raid on a flat in the western city of Neuss on Saturday, the regional Criminal Investigation Office (LKA) said.
The woman, identified by local media as the man’s wife, was later released.
A spokesman for the Duesseldorf prosecutor’s office said the 21-year-old terrorist admitted during questioning that a 17-year Austrian with Albanian roots who was arrested in Vienna had visited him for two weeks at the end of last year, though the purpose of the visit was not immediately clear.
Austrian officials initially said the Vienna suspect, who grew up in Neunkirchen, was 18.
Police say that the 17-year-old Lorenz K was known for a history of petty crimes and assault, according to The Local. It is believed that he might have become radicalized while serving a year in prison from 2014 to 2015 for assault.
The 17-year-old Lorenz K was tranferred to Justizanstalt Josefstadt prison in Vienna on Sunday. He turns 18 in the coming days.
The 21-year-old and 17-year-old reportedly had experimented with making explosives in flat in Neuss.
A search of the 21-year-old suspect’s apartment in Neuss did not turn up any evidence of an imminent attack and no weapons or explosives were found, a prosecutor’s spokesman said.
Germany’s Focus magazine said the terrorist was planning a bomb attack on police and soldiers. Both he and the suspect detained in Austria had experimented with materials to create explosives in the Neuss apartment, it said.