Swiss police Thursday sought at least four people linked to the jihadist movement in Geneva, where security has been strengthened in response to a “terrorist threat”, less than a month after the attacks in Paris.
The Attorney General of the Confederation announced in a statement Wednesday have opened a criminal investigation “on the basis of a terrorist threat in the Geneva region.”
“The main purpose is to prevent a terrorist event,” said the prosecutor. According Emmanuelle Lo Verso, communications officer of the Security Department, “we have gone from a vague threat to a specific threat.”
Four men linked to jihadist Islamic State group are searched, told AFP a veteran of UN guards. The names of four men considered supporters of IE contained in a note from the Geneva police that the journalists of La Tribune de Genève could see. It also mentions three cities currently particularly threatened: Geneva, Toronto and Chicago.
The police also said that they are “armed and dangerous”, according to Le Matin.
That information was transmitted by US intelligence to the Swiss authorities. The newspaper Le Matin published a photo of four young men, sitting, bearded, finger in the air in the manner of fighters of the Islamic State. Their faces are blurred as is the rule.
The newspaper La Tribune de Genève further states that in addition to the four suspects, two other people are also sought, came into Switzerland with a registered commercial vehicles in Belgium on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.
One person who was in the van spotted by police on December 8 is stuck as a friend Abdeslam Salah, one of the key suspects of the attacks of Paris, still at large, says the newspaper Le Temps. The two occupants of the vehicle had been reported especially by the French because of strong suspicions of radicalization. They had managed to escape and leave Switzerland.
But they have no direct link with the four wanted persons.
The UN alert
The United Nations has its European headquarters in Geneva, which is the subject of Thursday enhanced surveillance with many guards armed with automatic rifles, a measure quite unusual.
“The alert was issued Wednesday night at 20 pm (14 pm, Montreal time). After gathering reinforcements, we searched the building in the evening and asked those who are still working to evacuate, “said the UN guard.
The Palace of Nations hosts in the day thousands of international staff and 400 UN guards are responsible for its protection.
A meeting on Syria from UN envoys, US and Russian deputy ministers, scheduled for Friday does not take place at the UN headquarters, but in secret and no media coverage will occur, said Thursday United Nations.
In Geneva and its region, additional police forces were deployed and raised alert level, said the Security Department in a statement.
Reinforced controls at the French border
After jihadist attacks in Paris on 13 November which made 130 deaths and the establishment of the state of emergency in France, the numerous crossings between France and Switzerland in the Geneva region give rise to controls strengthened the Swiss and French security forces cooperating in this mission.
These measures were further strengthened Thursday, especially in the Ain and Haute-Savoie, two neighboring French departments of the Geneva area.
“The police, gendarmerie and customs are on the ground and strengthen their controls,” has informed the Prefecture of Ain. “The degree of vigilance at borders already high was raised in both directions,” said his side the prefecture of Haute-Savoie.
Besides the European headquarters of the UN, Geneva welcomes thirty international organizations.
For now, no official event has been canceled, but “additional patrols Sunday procession will frame the Escalade,” said a state of Geneva.
The historical procession, during which 800 people in period costumes parade annually attracts thousands of spectators.