Polish authorities have arrested a radical nationalist who plotted to blow up parliament and had links to the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in Norway last year, they said yesterday.

The suspected plot – to strike parliament when the president and prime minister were inside – was the first of its kind since Poland threw off Communist rule more than 20 years ago and will put scrutiny on radical right-wing groups fiercely opposed to the liberal government.

Prosecutors said the suspect, a scientist who works for a university in the southern city of Krakow, planned to plant four tonnes of explosives in a vehicle outside parliament and detonate it remotely.

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The plot had parallels with Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who planted a bomb in Oslo last year and went on a shooting rampage on an island.

"The would-be bomber did not hide his fascination with Breivik. This should not be ignored," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. "This should be a warning and a good lesson to Poland in the future. This is a new and dramatic experience."

Prosecutors said the suspect, 45, had a small arsenal of explosive material, guns and remote-controlled detonators and was trying to recruit others.