Acting on information provided by U.S. intelligence services, Geneva officials have raised the terrorism alert level and are actively seeking four alleged Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists thought to be linked to the attacks in Paris who are now suspected to be hiding in or near the city.
“We have gone from a vague threat to a specific threat,” said Emmanuelle Lo Verso, communications officer at the Department of Safety and Economy (EHR). “The number of patrols has been increased because we are in a very active phase of the search,” she said.
— Breaking3zero (@Breaking3zero) December 10, 2015
Photos of the four men suspected of links to the Islamic State have been circulated among police and other security officials. For the first time, on Thursday morning, police armed with machine guns were stationed outside United Nations international headquarters.
In a statement, the Department of State Security said that Wednesday afternoon they had “received reports of suspects who may be in Geneva or in the vicinity,” and that investigations are being conducted “in close collaboration with national and international services.”
Along with Geneva, reports also cite Toronto and Chicago as cities under a direct Islamist terror threat.
On Friday, December 11, a UN diplomatic meeting concerning Syria was to be held in the Palais des Nations building, which had to be evacuated Wednesday evening for security reasons. The meeting will reportedly still take place, but in a different, undisclosed location.
Friday’s talks between representatives of the United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Nations are considered a preparatory step for the upcoming meeting of the International Syria Support Group.
Geneva authorities have also heightened surveillance at sensitive locations such as synagogues, airports, train stations, and other gathering places.
Reports state that a “commercial vehicle registered in Belgium, with two men on board, entered Swiss territory on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.” At present, the link between the van and the photo of the four men has not been established with certainty.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.