“It turns out that the suspect is obviously a radicalized Muslim who has murdered two people,” said Sobotka. “For this reason, I am talking about a murder case which clearly has an Islamist background.”
Identified as Mohammed H. by local media, the 54-year-old suspect turned himself in to police and confessed to slitting the throat of an 85-year-old woman and stabbing and beating her husband, 87, because the couple’s son was an active member of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO).
“He said he committed the murders for political motives and out of hatred of the FPO,” a police spokesman said.
A search at the suspect’s home and through his social networks revealed a different story, said police. No other details were forthcoming, but Mohammed is said to have acted alone, according to police Chief Andreas Pilsl.
According to news reports, the killer had been living in Upper Austria since 1989 and knew the victims well, having established a friendly rapport with them because he delivered their groceries from his wife’s store. They also reportedly helped him out with money.
Since learning that the Tunisian had been known to authorities, the FPO party has blamed them for not stopping the murders.
“Nothing was found that could indicate a radicalization,” Pilsl said after intelligence services received an anonymous tip about the man in 2015.
“We obviously have more integration problems in Austria than we thought,” Deputy State Governor of Upper Austria Thomas Stelzer said, adding that the killings “will not shatter our democratic principles.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor of Austria Christian Kern demanded that security services “immediately” find out “where similar risks exist and how to combat them.”
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