Police in Germany said Friday a New Year’s Eve terror alert that closed two busy Munich train stations was prompted by the threat of suicide attacks linked to ISIS.
Security forces in many capitals were on raised alert after a year of militant attacks, including an attack on Paris in November that killed 130 and was claimed by Islamic State (IS). Prosecutors said they were holding the other three for a further 24 hours.
Shortly before Munich rang in the new year, police evacuated the main train station and the Pasing station.
“At this point we don’t know if these names are correct, if these people even exist, or where they might be”, Andrae said on January 1.
A large deployment of 550 officers overnight has been cut to 100, and Mr Andrae urged the public to “live as you did before”.
“Last night’s threat was so specific that we couldn’t wait to determine whether it was serious or not, but had to act”, Herrmann said.
Munich police spokeswoman Elizabeth Matzinger could not confirm the nationalities or the suspected residence of the suspects, or whether a manhunt for identified individuals was underway.
The station was cordoned off and heavily armed police blocked the entrances.
Munich train stations have reopened, as Bavaria’s top security official said that the warning about Islamic State extremists intending to blow themselves up in the German city was no longer acute.
Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria’s interior minister, added that “up till now, none of us has either seen or heard of the supposed attackers”.
Germany has not experienced the sort of attacks that were carried out in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 and Paris previous year, but the authorities in Berlin warn that the country remained a possible target, most notably because of its military presence in Afghanistan.
The alert brought an eerie silence to Munich’s busy rail hub, which over the summer made headlines for the massive turn-out of volunteers welcoming record numbers of refugees to Germany.
“There is nobody in the main station at the moment, but the atmosphere in Munich is like a normal New Year”.
Some revelers sought to enter the station but were turned away.
After the deadliest year for militant attacks in Europe since 2004, the build-up to the New Year had been overshadowed by arrests, security warnings, and the scaling-back of big traditional celebrations in Brussels, Moscow and Paris.
Police received a tipoff New Year’s Eve that militants from Iraq and Syria were planning attacks on celebrations in the German city. However, no explosives were found nor have they confirmed such an attack was indeed planned.
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