According to the newspaper, about 900 police officers took part in raids in Vienna, Graz and Linz, searching mosques and prayer rooms, as well as private homes. The Friday raids followed two years of investigations into the suspects who were said to be attempting to persuade young Austrians to act as mercenaries in Syria and raising funds for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing large areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
Numerous young people from the European Union, the United States and Canada are believed to have joined the jihadist group. British officials say at least 500 UK citizens have left for Iraq and Syria in recent months and German authorities estimate 550 German nationals have joined the IS militants.