Austrian police
Austrian police foiled a possible terror attack on Friday, 20 January, after arresting a man suspected of plotting a bomb attack in Vienna in the second half of the month - File photo Reuters

Police in the Austrian capital of Vienna have arrested a man on suspicions of planning a terror attack in the city. The arrest came after Austrian authorities were alerted by foreign intelligence agencies of a possible attack.

Police spokesman Thomas Kieblinger said that the suspect was arrested on Friday (20 January) afternoon by the Austrian counter-terrorism unit Cobra from an apartment in the capital city.

"In recent days, there were increasing indications of a terror strike in the capital," Kieblinger told reporters in Vienna, adding that police, domestic intelligence agencies and Cobra worked closely together to foil this possible terror attack, Deutsche Welle reported.

Austrian interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka later told the press that the arrested man, an 18-year-old, was an Austrian citizen of a migrant background. He added that the man was under observation for some days as there were indications of jihadist motives.

"Our police forces managed in quick time to arrest a suspect and so prevent a potential terror attack in the federal capital Vienna," he said, adding: "The decisive leads came from foreign intelligence services."

Without divulging more information on suspected links to Islamist extremists, the minister only said that there are "individual indications [of extremism] that we have to investigate".

"There is one contact that is pretty clear and there are several indications that will be looked at intensively," he said, without giving any names, the BBC reported.

The country was reportedly on high alert following alerts from foreign intelligence agencies. Security was also beefed up after recent terror attacks in Berlin before Christmas.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern congratulated the police on foiling the possible terror attack. In a Twitter post, he also thanked the police for making Austria "one of the safest countries in the world".

Meanwhile, local Austrian daily "Kronenzeitung" wrote in a report that the arrested man was planning a bomb attack in the second half of January. The newspaper also reported that the suspect – allegedly an Islamic State (Isis) member – had built explosives himself in Germany. However, police did not confirm the claims.