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Nine Iraqi men arrested in Vienna rape probe

Nine Iraqi men arrested in Vienna rape probe

Nine Iraqi men have been arrested on suspicion of rape over an attack on a German tourist in Vienna, Austria, on New Year's Day.

The men range in age from 21 to 47 and are all either asylum seekers or were recently granted asylum, Vienna police spokesman Paul Eidenberger said.

They were arrested at several locations in raids on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

They are alleged to have taken the woman from Vienna's central Schwedenplatz and then assaulted her in an apartment where two of the suspects lived. The woman was visiting a friend but had become separated from her during the New Year's celebrations, Mr Eidenberger said.

The men have denied the accusations, police said.

The victim went to the police later on January 1, saying she could not remember where the alleged attack took place but that she knew something had happened, Mr Eidenberger said.

The woman, who had been drinking and suspects she was drugged, has no recollection of being taken to the apartment, but police were able to use video surveillance and other evidence to determine the location, he said.

They also used DNA evidence to link at least four of the men to the alleged crime, but "all were involved", Mr Eidenberger said.

Prosecutors are now applying to a court to have the men held as they continue their investigation.

Austria was one of the main routes through which hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers travelled into Europe last year.

The influx eventually prompted the government to set limits on asylum applications that sparked a series of border closures, shutting down the Balkan route used by many migrants.