Nine Iraqi refugees arrested in Austria New Year's Day rape

Austrian authorities have arrested nine Iraqi men on suspicion of rape for an attack on a German tourist in Vienna on New Year's Day, police said Monday.

The men range in age from 21 to 47 and are all either asylum-seekers or recently were granted asylum, Vienna police spokesman Paul Eidenberger told The Associated Press. They were arrested at several locations in raids Saturday and Sunday, he said.

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

Police say the men have denied the accusations.

The 28-year-old victim from northern Germany went to the police later on Jan. 1, saying she couldn't remember where the attack took place but that she knew something had happened, 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 crime, but "all were involved," Eidenberger said.

Prosecutors are now applying to a court to have the men held as they continue their investigation. Monday was a holiday in Austria and prosecutors' office phones went unanswered.

Austria was one of the main routes through which hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers traveled 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.