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Man tries to attack police guard outside Austrian parliament

March 13, 2018

VIENNA (AP) — A man tried to drag a police guard out of his car outside the Austrian parliament building on Tuesday and was arrested, Vienna police said.

The incident took place shortly after 8 a.m. The 26-year-old suspect, an Afghan national who wasn’t identified, spoke to the officer in his patrol car, then grabbed his clothes and tried to drag him out of the vehicle.

The officer used pepper spray to deter the assailant, injuring him slightly. Police say the officer was unhurt, and no weapons were found on the suspect.

The incident comes after a knife attack Sunday night on an Austrian soldier who was guarding the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Austrian capital. The attacker in that case, an Austrian national, was fatally shot.

Senior national security official Michaela Kardeis said at a previously scheduled news conference that the residence assailant “clearly had sympathy for political Islam.”

The man’s Vienna apartment was searched on Monday, when police said they had no information on his motives.

Kardeis said she can’t say anything more concrete until investigators have finished evaluating items such as a computer and cellphone that they seized. She added that she had taken care not to say that he was a jihadi or radicalized, “but that simply out of his interest in surfing — which has not yet been evaluated in detail — there is ... a certain sympathy.”

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