(Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)BERLIN (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.
On Facebook, Munich police said the precautions were being taken in response to “serious evidence”.
Police is pictured outside the Munich train station on December 31, 2015. With barely four hours to go until midnight, and therefore no time to check the intelligence, ZDF said the police had opted for caution and shut down the two railway stations.
Herrmann continued to say that the closures had been “the right decision, because I think we can not run any risks when we have such specific threats”.
“We received names. We can’t say if they are in Munich or in fact in Germany”, Andrae reportedly said, when asked about the suspects’ whereabouts. They had yet to confirm, they said, whether the names they had received were correct or, indeed, whether the suspects were real people.
He added: “It’s a bit weird, though, that we have a terrorist warning and people are firing off their fireworks”.
Police initially detained six people after searching six locations in the Belgian capital and one just outside the city.
In an apparent effort to allay those concerns, Germany said on Thursday it would start holding personal hearings for asylum seekers from Syria as of Friday, reversing a policy of granting nearly automatic refugee status for Syrians.
Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae has said it was unclear whether the suspects are still in the city or even in Germany.
“There were solid indications of between five and seven attackers”, Bavaria’s state interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, said in an overnight press conference.
An overnight deployment of 550 officers to deal with the threat has now been reduced to 100.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere commended all the authorities involved for their “thoughtful, considerate and decisive” action in Munich. French and U.S. intelligence agencies are said to have named seven Iraqis living in Munich as the potential attackers.
Several days after the November 13 Paris attacks, German police called off an global football match at the last minute, evacuating thousands of fans from the stadium over a “serious” bomb threat.
Regional public television Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) reported that the intelligence concerning possible Daesh attacks in Munich first came from US authorities on Thursday night and soon after French intelligence service conveyed similar information to their German counterparts.
However, Herrmann warned that the overall threat across Europe remained high after the attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.
Andrae said the security alert level in Munich remained the same as it was before German authorities received the tip.