Officials in Switzerland and Austria adjust terror threat levels | News | DW | 28.12.2015
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Officials in Switzerland and Austria adjust terror threat levels

Authorities in the Swiss city of Geneva lowered its terror alert level on Monday. It comes as officials in the Austrian capital, Vienna, meet to evaluate potential new threats.

Geneva had been on heightened alert for the past 18 days after it began a search for a number of people who officials said had possible links to terrorism.

A police statement said the Security and Economy Department of Geneva canton, or region, had decided to return to the alert level "vigilant" - in place before December 10, after consulting with federal authorities.

"A new assessment of the terrorist threat situation after the Christmas holidays justifies this decision," police said. "Moreover, all the recent events considered as potential targets, be they diplomatic, religious or commercial, are now over."

Geneva security department spokeswoman Caroline Widmer said threats in the area were again being classified as "vague", after rising to "specific" levels three weeks ago.

Geneva is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many banks and trading houses, and it has passport-free borders with France, where militants linked to the "Islamic State" terror group killed 130 people in attacks in Paris in November.

A United Nations security officer stands guard outside the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland,

Security had been heightened at the UN's European Headquarters in Geneva

While searching for suspects, Geneva police arrested two Syrians after finding traces of explosives in their car, although no connection between the various strands of investigation had been established, Jornot said.

Heightened alert from Vienna

Police in Vienna have scheduled two security meetings in the wake of a warning issued by what they called a "friendly intelligence service" to several European capitals about the possibility of an attack in the lead-up to the New Year.

Police say they were stepping up surveillance of places where crowds are expected to gather.

bik/se (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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