Austrians Alerted Prior Attack

VIENNA — Austrian authorities were warned last year that a Chechen man slain in Vienna last week was in jeopardy, an advance summary of a report in an Austrian weekly said Tuesday.

Umar Israilov was shot and killed Jan. 13. Officials said they have no proof that the murder was politically motivated, but news reports and human rights groups claim that the 27-year-old was targeted because he was a former bodyguard and critic of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Vienna's Falter weekly claimed in an advance summary of an article to be published Wednesday that a man hired by Kadyrov to make Israilov "disappear" had second thoughts and told police about the matter in June.

The man asked authorities to protect Israilov, the report said.

Officials at Kadyrov's office refused to comment on the report.

Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia confirmed Tuesday that authorities interrogated a man last summer who claimed that he had been hired to kill Israilov. The purported hit man's comments could not be confirmed, and he was deported to Russia.

Gollia says authorities did not have enough evidence to provide Israilov with police protection.

Rights groups have accused Kadyrov's paramilitaries of involvement in abductions and extrajudicial killings of civilians and those suspected of ties of Islamic separatists.