Austrian counter-terrorism authorities say they have seized three firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and paramilitary equipment after a raid on “corona deniers” they claim were planning attacks on police.
The raids, which were part of an operation by Austria’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (BVT), saw seven homes searched on May 14th, with authorities claiming to find a small cache of weapons along with protective vests, helmets, and radios.
The public prosecutor’s office in Ried in Upper Austria is investigating the case, which involves several radicals who have yet to be arrested, Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung reported.
Pictures of seized materials published by the newspaper appear to show two pistols, a long firearm, and two samurai-style katana swords, ammunition, and tactical gear.
The tabloid alleges that those targetted by the raids attempted to organise themselves on the encrypted messaging app Telegram and that they planned to take to the streets, allegedly speaking openly about attacking police officers at anti-lockdown demonstrations.
Members of the Telegram chat group are also said to have discussed using Molotov cocktails and explosives at an anti-government rally in Vienna.
Nearly two-thirds of Austrians believe that the economic consequences of Wuhan coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions will be worse for people’s lives than the virus itself. https://t.co/sPKUV4WCMz
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 2, 2021
Interior Minister Karl Nehammer commented on the raids, saying: “It is hard to believe what was being tried here by corona deniers. Thanks to meticulous investigative work, these criminal networks have been unmasked. The perpetrators must be punished with the full force of the rule of law.”
The raids come as Belgium continues its manhunt for a former soldier who allegedly threatened the life of the country’s top epidemiologist Marc Van Ranst.
According to police, 46-year-old Jurgen Conings is believed to be in possession of firearms, and his vehicle was recently discovered in a forest close to the Lanklaarse Steenweg national park.
Vienna Gunman Was ISIS Sympathiser, Convicted Terrorist Released Early from Prison https://t.co/0rHNBQGxz7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 3, 2020