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Second arrest in Vienna terrorist bomb plot

German police said Sunday they have arrested a man accused of having ties to a suspected Islamic extremist captured in Austria and thought to have been plotting an attack.

Second arrest in Vienna terrorist bomb plot
Neuss Town Hall. Photo: Michael Reschke/Wikimedia

A spokesman for state police in North Rhine-Westphalia said the man, 21, was taken into custody on Saturday in the western city of Neuss on a warrant for “planning a serious crime targeting the state”.

A spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, confirmed that the arrest “is linked” to that of a 17-year-old man — not 18 as previously indicated — in Vienna on Friday evening.

“Investigations are continuing,” Grundboeck told AFP.

Both German and Austrian authorities declined to comment further but media reports in both countries said that the two had experimented with making explosives in the flat in Neuss.

German news magazine Focus had reported earlier, citing judicial sources, that the elite SEK command force had stormed the man's flat on suspicion he was planning a bombing targeting police and soldiers.

German police confiscated computers and mobile phones from the home, and the suspect's wife was temporarily detained for questioning, according to the reports.

They added that the Austrian suspect has told investigators that he had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis) group and revealed the link to the alleged accomplice in Germany.

Austrian authorities said that the suspect, who turns 18 in the coming days, was transferred to the Justizanstalt Josefstadt prison in Vienna on Sunday afternoon.

Press reports named him as Lorenz K., born in Austria to parents of Albanian origin and who grew up in the small town of Neunkirchen south of Vienna.

The reports said that he possibly became radicalised while serving a year in prison from 2014-15 for assault.

Germany has been on high alert since a Tunisian failed asylum seeker, Anis Amri, ploughed a lorry through a crowded Berlin Christmas market in December in an attack that killed 12 people.

Isis claimed the deadly assault.

Austria has been spared in the string of attacks by Islamist extremists in recent years suffered by other European countries, but has beefed up security measures.

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

‘Decomposing smell’: Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

Austria's police department said they were called to an apartment complex in Vienna after a person was concerned about a "smell of decomposition".

'Decomposing smell': Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

This week, the Viennese police department started a weekly ‘series’ of sharing interesting stories on their social media accounts

Calling the series ‘Misunderstanding Wednesday’ (Missverständnismittwoch), the very first post is about a call they received to an apartment complex after a concerned citizen complained to emergency services about a “smell of decomposition in the staircase”.

READ ALSO: Stephansdom: Vienna woken up after hacker sets church bells to ring at 2am

The alleged corpse, it turns out, was just the neighbour’s smelly shoes which were left in the building corridor, in front of their apartment.

The police didn’t say when exactly the incident took place.

“When our colleagues are called because of the ‘smell of decomposition in the staircase’… and notice that the stunk is from the neighbour’s shoes which were left in front of the apartment door”, the official Twitter account of the Vienna police department reads.

‘When in doubt it is an emergency’

The authorities were light-hearted about the misunderstanding, even sharing a “meme-like” picture on their social media accounts, saying “some missions turn out to be different than initially assumed”.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

However, they reiterated that the misunderstandings should not deter people from calling 133, the emergency police number. They added that in case of emergencies and even if you are not sure, the authorities should be called and they will assist you.

“Note: in case of doubt, it is an emergency”, the Vienna police department says. “Never be afraid to dial the emergency number.”

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