Munich police defend New Year's Eve station evacuation as they hunt the seven suicide bombers behind the alleged 'Isis terror plot'

It comes as Paris and Brussels cancelled their planned fireworks displays over fears of similar attacks

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 01 January 2016 08:20
Armed police stand guard outside the evacuated railway station in Munich, Germany after reports of a 'serious' terror threat on New Year's Eve
Armed police stand guard outside the evacuated railway station in Munich, Germany after reports of a 'serious' terror threat on New Year's Eve

Munich police are defending their decision to evacuate two major railway stations due to warnings of a "serious, imminent" terror threat to the city's New Year celebrations.

Authorities asked people to stay away from the city's main train station and a second train station in the city's Pasing neighbourhood overnight.

But Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann admitted on Friday that the police were no longer sure whether the plot was real.

He told reporters: "We no longer have concrete indications for a terror threat today or tomorrow at a specific location".

A police spokeswoman said they had received a tip off from the French security services about a "specific" Isis inspired plot.

According to local radio station BR, more than 500 police officers were deployed to hunt a seven person Iraqi-Syrian suicide cell who was allegedly poised to attack New Year revellers in an Isis inspired attack.

Local police chief Hubertus Andrae said the force had received several names but did not know whether they were real and they did not know if the suspects were still "in Munich or in fact in Germany".

He urged locals to "carry on living as you did previously" but insisted the alert was "not a false alarm", Die Welt reports.

Although the risk level has been reduced to the same level it was before the attack, a police spokesman told AFP that there was still a "high threat of terrorism".

Police standing guard outside the evacuated railway station in Munich on New Year's Eve

Police spokesman Werner Kraus told The Associated Press that "after evaluating the situation, we started evacuating the train stations and also asked partygoers to stay away from big crowds outside."

The warning came only hours before the city rang in the new year.

Despite police warnings to stay away from big crowds, thousands of people were on the streets of Munich at midnight to welcome 2016 with fireworks.

German police on duty at the main railway station in central Munich. Police evacuated Munich's main train station and a second station in the city's Pasing district in response to a credible terrorist threat to the Bavarian capital

Dpa reported massive delays in the city's public transportation system after both train stations were quickly evacuated and trains were no longer stopped there.

It comes as Paris cancelled it's traditional fireworks display in favor of a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee.

Cities across Europe have been on edge since a terror attack in Paris in November killed 130 people.

Munich Central Station has been evacuated

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was aimed at "sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together." ​

Brussels cancelled its own fireworks display earlier this week after the arrest of two men in connection an alleged planned attack.

A further six people were arrested yesterday in connection with the plot. Beligan authorities also announced they had placed a tenth person under formal investigation in connection with the Paris attacks.

London's celebrations went ahead as planned but with unconfirmed reports that Scotland Yard cancelled the leave of all firearms officers in the capital.

The force insisted that the deployment of 3,000 police officers for the event was a typical precaution and did not represent heightened security.

A US man was arrested and charged on suspicion of plotting a terror style attack on a restaurant in Rochester in New York state.

New York City saw the deployment of 6,000 police officers armed with dogs, radiation detectors and sniper rifles.

Additional reporting by AP.

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