Austrian police avert imminent terror attack

Photo: Austrian Police Officers
Photo: Austrian Police Officers

An Austrian man suspected of having jihadi contacts was arrested on Friday in Vienna in a move the interior minister said prevented an imminent attack and police urged citizens to report any abandoned bags.

Special forces arrested the 18-year-old with a migrant background in a Vienna apartment at around 1700 GMT, police said.

“The decisive leads came from foreign intelligence services,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told reporters.

Asked whether the suspect had Islamist motives, he said: “There are certain indications, which we have to investigate. There is one contact which is fairly clearly positioned.”

The arrest comes a month after an attack at a Berlin Christmas market killed 12 people and after attacks in France and Belgium raised fears in Europe.

Austrian newspaper Krone said a group of radical Islamists of Albanian descent had planned an attack in Vienna between Jan. 15 and 30. It did not specify its sources for the report.

The minister declined to give further details on the suspect but asked people to be vigilant in crowds and to report unattended items of luggage in public places.

The arrested man had been monitored by special forces for several days, Sobotka said, adding there were hints the man, who lives in Vienna, had traveled to Germany.

He did not confirm the Krone report saying the suspect had built an explosive device in Germany.

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