Swiss authorities have launched “an investigation on a terrorist threat in the Geneva region. Federal authorities are coordinating efforts with Geneva cantonal police and judicial authorities. Its goal is to avoid a terrorist act,” says a statement issued tonight by the Swiss Federal Government.
Swiss authorities say the suspects are being sought for possible participation in Al Qaeda and Islamic State groups.
United States media is reporting tonight that the suspects are five radicalized men believed to be part of a network lead by Mourad Fares, a French national who specializes in recruiting in French-speaking countries, responsible for recruiting the third suspect of the Bataclan theater shooting in Paris. (CNN)
A senior US counter terrorism official told NBC News that the CIA tipped off Swiss authorities regarding four individuals plotting attacks against the Confederation as well as other cities in the United States.
UN security guards were immediately stationed with MP5 sub-machine guns at entry points, a highly unusual measure at the Geneva headquarters. (France24)
Geneva authorities said that more police were deployed on city streets and that additional police was stationed in the French consulate in Geneva.
Large police contingents have also been stationed at the train station and at the airport.
As news and misinformation spread about town, reports of abandoned backpacks and restricted travel left many residents nervous.
An anti-explosives response unit detonated an abandoned backpack in Rive tonight, creating further confusion in the city centre where a large number of officers had been patrolling.
A similar incident occurred at the Gare de Rennens in Lausanne, just a couple of hours ago.
GENEVA, Switzerland – Cantonal authorities are stepping up security following information that individuals connected to the 13 November Paris terror attack could be in Geneva.
Swiss security officials warned the canton on Wednesday afternoon that the “suspects,” who were not named, could be either in Geneva or the Geneva-region.
Police are working with international and national authorities to locate the suspects.
The news come less than 24 hours after a third Paris attacker was identified by French authorities.
Just a few days ago, Geneva’s security councilor Pierre Maudet in interview with Bloomberg News said the city, home to dozens of international organizations, would bolster security collaboration with France.
Border controls between Geneva and France were intensified after the attacks but have laxed in certain border crossings since then.
Maudet has said that while Geneva is under no imminent risk of a terror attack —due to its borders with France and the easiness to get to from Paris— risks should not be underestimated, especially in the International Geneva which includes the United Nations and other organizations visited almost daily by international leaders.
The UN has also bolstered security, something that was particularly evident during last week’s visit of Didier Reynders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium who accompanied by Princess Astrid, younger sister to the current Belgian King, attended a landmine meeting in Geneva.
UN-based journalists confirmed the UN security is on “high alert.”
Last month, French police searched the homes of two Geneva Mosque imams who supposedly were subject to a Fiche S, and the mosque’s prefecture in neighboring France.
The Geneva mosque, which is the largest in Switzerland, has in the past denounced terrorism and extremism.
The Islamic Cultural Foundation which manages the mosque has also denied any wrongdoing.
In total 130 people died and hundreds were injured in last month’s attack in France.
- See also, Geneva and Lausanne react to terror attack.
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