Munich terror threat remains in place

January 2, 2016 5:14 pm

 German special police stand in front of the Munich main train station on Thursday. Photo / AP

A terror warning in Munich on New Year’s Eve that led to the
evacuation of two train stations was not a false alert, security
officials said Friday, although there have been no arrests.
The
evacuation of Munich’s main train station and the Pasing neighborhood
station shortly before midnight reportedly followed a warning from a
“friendly” foreign intelligence service that five to seven Islamic State
militants from Syria and Iraq were planning coordinated attacks on
different locations in Munich including the two train stations.
Although
it wasn’t even yet clear if any would-be attackers actually existed,
Munich police president Hubertus Andrae told reporters that the terror
warning and consequent evacuation of the train stations had not been “a
false alert.”
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told
reporters that as of Friday morning the train stations were open again
and “we no longer have concrete indications for a terror threat today or
tomorrow at a specific location.”

However, Herrmann warned that the overall threat across
remained high after the attacks in Paris in November that killed
130 people.
Later in November, a warning of a possible imminent
attack plunged Brussels into a lockdown for a time. Ten people suspected
of involvement in the Paris attacks have been arrested in Belgium.
Shortly
before Munich rang in the new year, police evacuated the main train
station and the Pasing station. Partygoers were asked to avoid crowds.
Despite those warnings, thousands of people were on the streets of Munich at midnight to welcome the new year with fireworks.
Authorities
were investigating intensively on Friday, Herrmann said, but so far had
not found any solid evidence for a planned attack. He said they had
received personal data for some of the alleged attackers and were in the
process of investigating and verifying the information.
He would not give any further details.
Herrmann called on Munich residents to be cautious, but at the same time not to let threats interfere with their normal lives.
More
than 500 police and special unit officers from all over the southern
Bavaria region were called to Munich Thursday night to help evacuate and
secure the stations. By Friday noon, some 100 extra officers were still
present in the city.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere
commended all the authorities involved for their “thoughtful,
considerate and decisive” action in Munich.
“The situation in
Europe and continues to be serious in the new year,” de Maiziere
said in a written statement. “Indeed we did get indications (for a
planned attack) yesterday, which were evaluated by the Bavarian
intelligence authorities and federal police.”
Cities across Europe have been on edge since an attack in Paris in November that killed 130 people.
A
few days after the Paris attack, a soccer stadium in Hannover in
central Germany was evacuated after a threat against a friendly match
between Germany and the Netherlands. The authorities never reported any
findings of explosives or concrete attack plans.

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