Austrian may be senior Al-qaeda figure: report

Vienna (ANTARA News/AFP) - Prosecutors in Vienna have opened an investigation into a young Austrian suspected of being a senior member of al-Qaeda, according to a report in Sunday`s edition of the Austrian Die Presse.

The suspect, known as "Driss", is thought to have led a group of fighters of Austrian origin on the Afghan-Pakistan border, says the report, citing a US specialist on terror groups, Paul Cruickshank.

Austrian intelligence agents picked up on "Driss" in 2005 and believe he had become a close aide to Saleh al-Somali, who was one of al-Qaeda`s most senior figures before he was killed by a US drone in 2009.

"Driss" is understood to be a convert to Islam and was born in the Austrian capital in 1983, the paper said. (*)

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