Thursday, 31 December 2015

European Capitals On Alert For Terrorism, Beef Up Security Ahead of New Year



Police forces in several European capitals say that they have been advised by a “friendly” intelligence service of the possibility of fresh terror attacks launched before the New Year, Homeland Security News Wire reports.

The reports did not name specific capitals, but security measures in Vienna, Austria, have been strengthened. The Austrian police said they were responding to concrete information about the possibility of an attack between Christmas and the New Year which would take place in “crowded places.”

“Several possible names of potential attackers were mentioned, which were checked, and the investigation based on [these checks] has so far yielded no concrete results,” Vienna police said in a statement.

“In the days before Christmas a warning was sent out by a friendly [intelligence] service to numerous European capitals, saying that it could come to an attack involving explosives or a shooting between Christmas and the New Year in crowded spaces.”

Christph Polzl, a spokesman for the Austrian police service, told the Guardian that “We do not know if these people exist in real life, or if they are only names with no real person behind them.

“We have no evidence they are in Vienna, and we have no evidence that they are even in Europe,” he said.

Vienna police have asked Austrians living or visiting the capital between this past weekend and next for patience and understanding with increased security measures, which include electronic and human surveillance in crowded places “especially at events and traffic hubs,” in addition to intensive identity checks, random searches of shopping bags and backpacks, and a higher alertness for objects that could carry explosives, such as “bicycle frames.”

The authorities stressed that no events will be cancelled.

The German Interior Ministry’s spokesman said it was his offices policy not to comment on specific situations because f operational considerations.

“Germany is still in the crosshairs of Jihadist terrorism,” he said, adding the country had reviewed and adapted its security measures, where necessary, following the Paris attacks.

France is still under a 3-months state of emergency which the government announced in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 13 November which killed 132 people.

Culled from: i-HLS