While millions across Europe recover from Christmas and prepare to celebrating new year’s eve at public firework displays, security services are scrambling to prevent terror attacks which will seek to target large gatherings of people enjoying the holiday.
Vienna police are working to put in place precautions after the force received a tip off from a “friendly” foreign intelligence service about known individuals planning to use firearms and explosives to cause bloodshed.
It is understood terrorists will attempt to use the large groups of people, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands, who gather to watch fireworks in Europe’s major cities to herald the new year. Vienna police have stepped up monitoring and will be controlling public spaces, checking identity cards of revellers, and monitoring vehicles which could be used to move large quantities of explosives, reports Magyar Nemzet.
Yet with so many people expected to turn out for the annual fireworks, there inevitably will not be enough officers to police events and the Vienna force is asking the public to keep a watchful eye out.
Vienna isn’t the only city warned by the unnamed security service to prepare for impending attacks. London, Rome, Madrid and Paris are also at risk from terror cells like the Islamist group that killed 130 in Paris in November, reports Die Krone.
In Paris, where upwards of 600,000 can gather to watch the world-famous fireworks the authorities have been considering cancelling the event because of the extremely high risk of another major terror attack, which could be the third in the city this year. As Breitbart London reported earlier this year, Paris is already under a state of emergency after the November attacks, and gatherings in large groups is forbidden.
Deputy mayor Bruno Julliard said of the terror threat: “From a symbolic point of view, it would leave us with heavy hearts if we had to cancel it.
“But if the prefecture of police asks us to cancel it, then we will”.
The head of Russia’s Upper House of Parliament’s Tourism Committee, Valery Ryzansky, suggested his countrymen would be better off celebrating New Year at home, reports The Daily Telegraph. He advised people to use “common sense” when making New Year’s Eve plans, and to heed warnings of possible terror attacks, saying:
“Each person should decide on his own whether or not to travel to Europe to celebrate, … but right now, when the issue of terrorist threats continues to be highly relevant, a family celebration of New Year’s at home is the safest and best format in the current situation.”
The British MP Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, rejects that advice. He said:
“I disagree with him. We should never allow the threat of terrorism to frighten us into changing our normal lives. We need to continue with our celebrations.
“Given the current climate, of course we should be extra vigilant and continue to be well protected but if we give into fear then they would have won.”
London is far from the only potential target in the UK, and British counter-terrorism officers have expressed concerns about how they will be able to respond if terrorists launched an attack anywhere other than London.
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