According to the statement released by police in Vienna on Saturday (26 December), an unnamed “friendly” intelligence service warned several European cities of a possible terror attack. The attacks are thought to possibly involve guns and explosives and are expected to occur during the holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The Vienna police did not reveal which cities had been warned and did not specify any names of a number of alleged attackers that they had investigated albeit without finding “concrete further results.”
The police further commented that “overall, this is a lead, which stipulates a higher than general abstract state of danger”. Christoph Poelzi, a spokesman for Vienna police, further added “we do not know if these people exist in real life, or if they are only names with no real person behind them. We have no evidence that they are in Vienna, and we have no evidence that they are even in Europe”. In response to the warning, police departments all across the European Union have increased security alert, observation and surveillance at public venues, major events and areas including high traffic. Police will also perform more security checks and increase its vigilance when it comes to empty suitcases and bags, though it does not see any reasons to call off any planned events during the holiday season.
In France, more than 48,000 police officers will be deployed across the country at sensitive venues between late-December until January 4 when school holidays end. France is moreover planning to recruit 2,000 police officers at the beginning of the New Year as the country remains under a state of emergency following the attacks in Paris on 13 November that saw 130 people murdered by terrorists.