Austria closes mosque frequented by Vienna attacker

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria has closed a mosque and an Islamic association frequented by a man who shot four people dead in a rampage through Vienna on Monday, Integration Minister Susanne Raab told a news conference on Friday.

She said the two sites had contributed to the attacker’s radicalisation.

Also Austria on Friday admitted “intolerable mistakes” in the handling of intelligence on the jihadist who killed four people in Vienna on Monday, saying it could have considered him a greater threat and monitored him more closely. 

The head of the main domestic intelligence agency for the city of Vienna, the Vienna Provincial Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (LVT) was stepping down temporarily while an investigation was carried out, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told a news conference.

“Obvious and from our point of view intolerable mistakes were made,” Nehammer said.

Austria had already admitted fumbling intelligence from Slovakia that the 20-year-old gunman, who was shot dead by police during his rampage in the centre of the capital, had attempted to buy ammunition there.

Austria arrested 15 people in connection with the attack. A Vienna court ordered eight of them aged 16-24 remanded in custody, it said on Friday.

Police in Germany on Friday searched homes and businesses linked to four people believed to have had ties to the shooter, whom Austrian authorities have described as an Islamist terrorist. Switzerland has also arrested two men who the authorities there said knew the attacker.

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