Arrests in Austria in connection with Paris attacks

Two people are under arrest in Austria in connection with the deadly Paris attacks. Details are sketchy but here’s what The Wall Street Journal has (emphasis mine).

According to the prosecutors’ office, two people were arrested over the past few days at a Salzburg shelter for refugees. A spokesman declined to give the nationalities of those arrested.

A person with knowledge of the matter said one of those arrested was from Pakistan and the other from Algeria. Both men are about 30 years old and were traveling with fake Syrian passports, the person said.

The men arrested had entered Europe via Greece with people later involved in the Paris attacks, the person said.

It’s important to remember that details are still coming out, and it’s completely possible WSJ’s sources are wrong regarding nationalities and where the suspects were. Salzburger Nachrichten certainly doesn’t have any additional information (Google translate from German).

Apparently, the duo had been tracked based on information of a foreign intelligence service. The Salzburg Police have both already last Thursday, 10 December arrested.Then pre-trial detention was imposed at the weekend. A static and legal protection judge at the Regional Court of Salzburg has the request of the prosecutor for the imposition of pre-trial detention upheld on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist organization (§ 278b of the Criminal Code).

From judicial circles it is said: “The matter is very serious.” The police are no information and referred to the prosecutor. Their spokesman Robert Wood Leitner says to the “Salzburger Nachrichten”: “In the proceedings against the two men evidence of a connection with the attacks or the assassins of Paris are currently being intensively tested.” Prosecutors ask for your understanding that at present no further information may be. “It is a classified document,” stressed the spokesman. Therefore, it remains unclear how long the men in Austria are, what nationality they have or exactly where they were arrested.

The local paper also reports four men were actually arrested, but only two of them are suspected of being involved in Paris. It is believed the others may have been members of ISIS, but authorities are still sorting out the details. Kronen Zeitung has more details on what’s going on, and includes a disturbing tidbit that more attacks may have been possible (translated from German).

In the intelligence services now prevails Security Red Alert. It is necessary to clarify whether the two suspects may have planned around the Christmas season with another accomplice attacks in major European cities. On the part of the judiciary, there are to the highly charged case an information blackout. “I can not comment,” said Robert Holzleitner, spokesman for the Salzburg public prosecutor to “crown”.

It’s possible Kronen Zeitung is just speculating what the suspects were doing because they’re being very “tabloid-ish” about everything they know. Still, it’s an interesting development in the case. It’d be nice if one of the arrests was Salah Abdeslam, the man believed to be one of the only survivors, but we’ll find out more as details are made public. It’s pretty big news from Europe, but the information blackout is only going to inflame tensions. If it IS true the terrorists were using fake Syrian passports, then it’s going to give more credence to the idea of not allowing any more Syrian refugees into Europe, and the EU will have to decide whether it’s time to send them all back to the Middle East. The U.S. may have to make a similar decision, but we’ll see what happens on that front and if Congress or the Obama Administration decides to comment or just let things continue as they are.. Here’s hoping more information comes out soon.