Munich 'not under imminent IS threat' - German officials

  • 1 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
German police at central railway station in Munich, 1 Jan 16 Image copyright EPA
Image caption German police got a tip-off from French intelligence

German officials say there is no sign of any imminent terror attack, after an alert that shut down two Munich railway stations on New Year's Eve.

"The situation has eased a bit again," said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann. Munich's main station and Pasing station reopened in the morning.

He said the temporary closure had been necessary because the intelligence service had got a "specific" warning.

That warning spoke of a threat from Islamic State (IS) suicide bombers.

Police say they are looking for "five to seven" suspects, believed to be Iraqis and Syrians.

But the state of alert now is "as it was before last night", Mr Herrmann told the Bavarian state broadcaster BR. He added that Europe was facing "a general, permanent terror threat".

Referring to the Munich scare, Mr Herrmann said the authorities "have nothing concrete about a place or time".

Names being checked

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said his force had some names which were being checked on police databases, but had no details of the suspects' whereabouts.

He urged residents of the southern German city to "carry on living as you did previously".

A police spokeswoman said the tip-off about an IS plot had come from the French secret service.

Elizabeth Matzinger said the French "gave us the hint that there was a suicide bomb attack planned for Munich during the last night at about 12 o'clock".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption German police were told of the threat as celebrations were in full swing
Media captionThe BBC's Gordon Corera: "Concerns for the year ahead will still remain"

Police reinforcements were deployed to Munich from other parts of Bavaria.

Mr Herrmann said the closure had been "the right decision, because I think we cannot run any risks when we have such specific threats".

New Year: Celebrations mark start of 2016

Cities across Europe were on alert for a possible New Year's Eve attack, after IS suicide bombers killed 130 people in co-ordinated attacks in Paris on 13 November.

France and Germany are involved in the international air campaign against IS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Security concerns had already caused New Year celebrations to be cancelled or limited in other European cities.

The authorities in Brussels called off all official events after three people were detained on Thursday in connection with an alleged New Year's Eve plot.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Security in the centre of Brussels was tight
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands joined celebrations on the Champs-Elysees
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Extra armed police were patrolling in London

More than 100,000 police were deployed across France. In Paris, the traditional fireworks display was called off, but thousands of people partied on the Champs Elysees in the biggest public gathering since the November attacks.

Security was stepped up in other major European cities too, including Moscow, London and Berlin.

In Moscow, the fireworks were delayed by five minutes and, for the first time, the police closed Red Square - a traditional place for crowds to gather.

London's Metropolitan Police deployed 3,000 officers in the inner city, including extra armed officers.

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