Security stepped up in Geneva following terrorist threat
The Swiss city of Geneva raised its alert level on Thursday and said it was looking for suspects who, according to national officials, had possible links to terrorism.
A security guard at the United Nations’ European headquarters told Reuters that Swiss authorities were searching for four men believed to be in or near the city.
Another guard said the U.N. compound was on maximum alert, and Geneva prosecutors said they were investigating the preparation of criminal acts.
Separately, the Swiss attorney-general said it opened an a criminal inquiry on the basis of a “terrorist threat in Geneva” against unknown persons suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation and of violating the ban on al-Qaeda or Islamic State operating in the country.
The Geneva daily Le Temps reported that a friend of Salah Abdeslam, the latter wanted in connection with the deadly Paris attacks on Nov. 13, was in a van spotted by Geneva police on Tuesday after a tip from French authorities that the two men in the car were strongly suspected of ties to radical Islam.
The attorney general’s office said it had opened a criminal proceeding against individuals suspected of being members of and supporting al Qaeda, Islamic State and related organizations, which are banned in Switzerland. In addition to police in Geneva, the attorney general’s probe is being conducted in cooperation with Swiss federal police.
The alert underscores the scope of the threat now felt across Europe after the recent deadly events in Paris, which left 130 people dead and showed Islamic State’s evolution into a mass terror organization.