Austria detains 14-year-old on terrorism suspicions

VIENNA (REUTERS) - Austrian authorities have detained on terrorism-related suspicions a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly planning to travel to Syria and had researched on the Internet how to build bombs, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The boy, a Turkish national who has lived in Austria for about eight years, was taken into custody late on Tuesday.

"He admitted he had plans to go to Syria and searched the Internet for plans on how to build explosive devices," said Michaela Obenaus, spokeswoman for prosecutors in St Poelten, the capital of Lower Austria province.

Obenaus said the boy had expressed sympathy with Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq.

"There is suspicion of participation in a terrorist organisation," she said.

A judge decided on Wednesday that the boy should be kept in investigative custody for two weeks, Obenaus said.

The age of criminal responsibility starts at 14 in Austria.

Authorities are already investigating around 150 people who have travelled from Austria to join militant groups fighting in Syria and Iraq. Some have already been killed.

Local media has speculated for months about the fate of two teenage girls from Bosnian families who reportedly travelled from Vienna to Syria to marry Islamist fighters.

The 15- and 17-year-old girls are listed as missing persons on the Interpol website, which also shows one of them wearing a veil with Islamic writing covering her face.

Other European countries are also struggling to prevent radicalised youngsters travelling to the Middle East.