Romanian prosecutors arrest suspect for attempted blast

A man (R) detained by the DIICOT anti-organized crime and terrorism unit is brought in to custody in Bucharest, Romania, December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Inquam Photos

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian prosecutors have detained a member of Hungarian ultra-nationalist group HVIM suspected of intending to detonate an explosive device in the Transylvanian town of Targu Secuiesc during Tuesday’s national day celebrations.

More than 1 million ethnic Hungarians live in Romania, mostly in three counties in central Transylvania, a territory at the foot of the Carpathian mountains that was run by Budapest until 1918 but is now far from the Hungarian border.

HVIM is an ultra-nationalist group that seeks a “Greater Hungary” and it has a Romanian unit. Targu Secuiesc is a small town in Covasna county full of pastel-shaded houses known as Kezdivasarhely in Hungarian.

Prosecutors from the DIICOT anti-organized crime and terrorism unit said on Tuesday they had taken a suspect into custody, but did not give his name.

“There is the reasonable suspicion that ... the accused, an important member of the Romanian HVIM unit, has procured the means and instruments needed to build an improvised explosive device that he aimed to detonate in Targu Secuiesc during the Dec. 1 holiday celebration,” DIICOT said in a statement.

It was unclear whether any attempted attack had got further than the planning stage, but prosecutors said they had seized “materials and devices” that could have harmed citizens during their raids. They did not specify when the raids took place.

National day celebrations were under way across Romania on Tuesday.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Alison Williams