Three alleged al-Qaida sympathizers arrested in connection with an online video threat against Austria and Germany may have had links to the Army of Islam, a shadowy group that kidnapped a BBC journalist earlier this year, a US terrorism research group said Thursday.
SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors al-Qaida messages, said its research suggests one of the three suspects arrested Wednesday in Vienna was a leader of the Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaida propaganda group increasingly tied to terrorism operations.
"The same individual also worked closely with the group responsible for kidnapping BBC journalist Alan Johnston earlier this year in Gaza," SITE said.
It described the Global Islamic Media Front as a "virtual group" that has become one of the world's most prominent jihadist organizations by translating al-Qaida videos and posting them online.
Austrian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.