Munich train stations reopened and trains were running again yesterday as Bavaria’s top security official said that the warning about Islamic State (IS) extremists intending to blow themselves up in the German city was no longer acute.
“We no longer have concrete indications for a terror threat today or tomorrow at a specific location,” Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters. He warned, however, that the overall terror threat in Europe remained high.
Shortly before the city rang in the new year, Munich police had evacuated the main train station and a station in the Pasing neighborhood. Partygoers were asked to avoid crowds.
Herrmann said a friendly foreign intelligence service had warned Germany of an imminent attack at midnight by between five and seven IS militants from Syria and Iraq planning to blow themselves up at locations in Munich, including the two stations.
Authorities were investigating intensively yesterday, Herrmann said, but so far had not made any arrests. He said they had received personal data for some of the attackers and were still investigating and verifying the information. He would not give further details on the alleged attackers and could not confirm if they actually existed.
Herrmann called on Munich residents to be cautious, but at the same time not to let terror threats interfere with their normal lives.
More than 500 police and special unit officers from all over the southern Bavaria region were called to Munich on Thursday night to help evacuate and secure the stations. Yesterday at 12pm, some 100 extra officers were still present in the city.
German interior minister Thomas de Maizière thanked all the services involved for their “thoughtful, considerate, and decisive” action in Munich on New Year’s Eve.
“The situation in Europe and Germany continues to be serious in the new year,” de Maizière said. “Indeed, we did get indications [for a planned attack] yesterday, which were evaluated by the Bavarian intelligence authorities and federal police.”
Despite police warnings to stay away from big crowds, thousands of people were on the streets of Munich at midnight to welcome the new year with fireworks.
Cities across Europe have been on edge since the attack in Paris in November that killed 130 people.
A few days after the Paris attack, a soccer stadium in Hannover in central Germany was evacuated after a threat against a friendly match between Germany and the Netherlands. The authorities never reported any findings of explosives or concrete attack plans.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved