Police are hunting vandals after a series of chapels and shrines were desecrated within the space of a few days in northern Austria.
Statues have been beheaded, prayer books burned and sacred images destroyed since the New Year in the Innviertel region on the Bavarian border.
On New Year’s Eve, the vandals struck a chapel in the village of St Radegund, damaging a statue of the Virgin Mary before burning prayer books and wooden objects from the chapel in a nearby wood.
That same day, another chapel at the nearby town of Auerbach was also attacked, with vandals smashing the glass guarding two Virgin Mary statues and stealing at least 22 murals, which they also burned in a wood.
ORF says the chapel is visited by about 20 people per day due to the supposed healing qualities of a nearby well.
Days later, a third chapel in Braunau am Inn, another town in the region, suffered a similar fate. The vandals stole a Christ figure from a cross and several other sacred objects. They also beheaded a statue of St Barbara. The damage to the small chapel is estimated to be around 5,000 euros.
Police have appealed for information, saying they have little to go on in tracking down the perpetrators.
Breitbart London reported on similar incidents in the German town of Dülmen in November, where Christian statues across the town were damaged and destroyed. Noses and fingers were smashed off statues, while some were even beheaded.
Police said the attacks could be religiously motivated, but struggled to identify the culprits.
Both Dülmen and Innviertel have witnessed an influx of migrants over the past year as part of Europe’s ongoing crisis.
In September 2016, an inquiry by the Austrian Freedom Party claimed over 120,000 illegal migrants had entered Austria over the past year, far higher than the government’s limit of 37,500.