German police get wind of Munich New Year’s Eve terror attack, clear stations, urge crowds to disburse

AFP-JIJI/reuters

German police said Thursday that they had “indications that a terror attack” was being planned by Islamists for New Year’s Eve in the southern city of Munich.

“Current indications show that a terror attack is being planned in Munich. Please avoid gatherings of people and the Munich and Pasing train stations,” police said in a tweet.

Both stations have been evacuated, they said, and train services were no longer running at the two sites.

The attackers have an “Islamist background,” police added.

A police spokeswoman also told AFP that they had “reliable information” that the group was planning to act as festivities were well underway on New Year’s Eve.

Although the train stations have been evacuated, the spokeswoman said it could not be ruled out that the attackers could seek another target.

Police said on Facebook they were taking the threat “very seriously” and that a large deployment of officers were working to track down the suspects.

European capitals are on high security alert, with Brussels and Paris both scrapping fireworks for New Year’s celebrations.

Belgian police were also holding five people over an alleged New Year plot in Brussels.

In Berlin, police presence has been stepped up at the Brandenburg Gate, where hundreds of thousands of people have gathered for festivities. All large bags and backpacks have been banned from the site of the huge street party.

Days after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group that left 130 dead, German police called off an international soccer match at the last minute due to a bomb threat.

No explosives were subsequently found, and no arrests made after the Germany-Netherlands friendly in Hanover — which was to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel — was canceled and thousands of fans evacuated.

The police evacuated two train stations in Munich late on Thursday, saying on Twitter they had received a tip regarding a planned militant attack on New Year’s Eve in the Bavarian capital.

“Actual lead that in #Munich a terror attack is planned. Please avoid crowd gatherings as well as the central train station and the Pasinger train station,” read a translation of the German tweet.

It added: “Pasinger and central stations have been evacuated. Trains are no longer running. Please follow police instructions.”

Another tweet from the police said: “We note explicitly once again that we take the threat very seriously. Please remain alert.”