Flag of Austria
Flag of Austria iStock

Austria has arrested a 25-year-old asylum seeker from Morocco on suspicion of planning an attack during the holiday season in the city of Salzburg, prosecutors said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

A search of an accommodation center for asylum seekers in the town of Fuschl am See, where the man was living, found "no materials clearly required for the execution of an attack", the Salzburg prosecutors' office said in a statement.

It could not, however, be ruled out that he was planning an attack, a spokesman added, according to Reuters.

The formal accusation against the suspect is that he belongs to an unspecified "terrorist organization", the news agency said.

"The police were informed in recent months that unidentified men had discussed an alleged terrorist attack in Salzburg in the period around Christmas/New Year," the prosecutors' office said, describing the Moroccan as the main suspect.

"Along with smaller amounts of drugs and cash in the amount of more than 8,000 euros ($8,300) several electronic devices were seized, which will be assessed," the prosecutors' office said, adding that it could not provide further details.

Like many other countries, Austria has been facing a terror threat from both asylum seekers as well as locals who travel to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside jihadists, then return to their home countries.

Facing the challenges of Austrians travelling to the Middle East to join jihadist groups, Austria's parliament in February of 2015 passed a law banning foreign sources of financing to Muslim organizations and requiring imams to be able to speak German.

In June of that year, an Austrian court convicted nine people of Chechen origin who were arrested on their way to join Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists together with their Turkish driver.

In October, three Austrian teenagers were given custodial terms for trying to join ISIS terrorists in Syria.

Independently of Monday’s arrest, according to Reuters, Austria is deploying more police at busy public places and tightening other security measures in response to Monday's attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in which 12 people were killed.

On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Berlin attack, saying the attacker was “a soldier” of the group.

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us