At around 2 am, two men dressed in black climbed a scaffold in front of the Graz Town Hall. There he tried to break the Israeli flag with a knife and in the process damaged it. Police officers from the Emergency Response Unit (BE) took notice as part of their increased surveillance and security measures. When both men saw the police, they fled north along Herengse. Several police patrols followed. Officers then temporarily arrested a suspect in Schmidgasse and took him to the police station. A short distance from the crime scene, authorities recovered a rolled-up Palestine flag. It was apparently left behind by refugees. A knife was also seized.
The suspect is a Syrian (17) from Graz. He was interrogated about the case for the first time at night and has not yet confessed. Further investigation into the background and the second, as yet unidentified, suspect is ongoing. Further investigation will be conducted by the Styrian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (LVT). Meanwhile, enhanced protective measures in relation to the Middle East conflict, a generally increased terror alert level, and current commemorations marking the November massacre of 1938 remain in place. The “vigil” previously held was peaceful and without any police incidents.
FPÖ club president Mario Kunásek expressed outrage at the incident: “This shows once again that Graz is an Islamism hotspot,” he said. The SPÖ and ÖVP have consistently ignored the problem for years. This inaction is now taking revenge on a large scale. There is a need for a “Styrian package of measures against Islamism”.