Germany shuts train stations, Europe heightens security
Europe ushered in the New Year with heightened security fears on Friday as German police evacuated two train stations in Munich, citing a tip about a planned suicide bomb attack, and Belgium held three people over an alleged plot.
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).
Soldiers were on the streets of the French capital, and police forces in London, Madrid, Berlin and Istanbul increased their presence as Europeans turned out to celebrate the arrival of 2016.
In New York, police tightened security for the traditional New Year’s Eve dropping of the crystal ball in Times Square, where more than a million people hailed the arrival of 2016.
Celebrations in Germany took on a sombre note when police warned of a possible terror attack and evacuated two train stations in Munich an hour before midnight on Thursday.
Germany had received a tip from another country’s intelligence service that IS planned to attack Munich with up to seven suicide bombers, German officials said at a news conference on Friday.
They didn’t identify the country that provided the tip-off, but German television said in an unsourced report that it came from France.
“I believe this decision was right because I think we cannot take unnecessary risks when we are dealing with such concrete threats, concrete locations, and a concrete time,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told a news conference on Friday.
The stations – Munich’s central station and Pasing station some 8 km (5 miles) away – reopened several hours later after the threat could not be substantiated.
In Belgium, police were holding three people for questioning on Thursday as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to carry out an attack in Brussels on New Year’s Eve.
Authorities on Wednesday called off the usual New Year’s Eve fireworks display in the capital, citing fears of a possible militant attack.
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