BERLIN — Police in Munich warned of a “serious, imminent threat” by Islamic State group suicide bombers wanting to commit a terror attack on New Year’s Eve and asked people to stay away from the city’s main train station and a second train station in the city’s Pasing neighborhood.
Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters Friday night at Munich’s police headquarters authorities had received information that the terror group Islamic State was behind the threat.
Munich police president Hubertus Andrae said German authorities had been tipped off by a foreign intelligence service that IS was planning attacks with five to seven suicide bombers, the German news agency dpa reported. Andrae said so far there hadn’t been any arrests.
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 the new year with fireworks.
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.
Some 550 officers had been deployed to track down the suspects and secure the sites, although no arrests have been made yet.
Police officers, some in riot gear, were posted at different entrances of Munich’s main rail station which was eerily quiet on a night of traditionally raucous celebrations.
Some revellers sought to enter the station but were turned away.
A police spokeswoman said it could not be ruled out that the attackers could seek another target.
German media had earlier reported that police were acting on a tip from French authorities.
European capitals are on high security alert, with Brussels and Paris both scrapping fireworks for New Year’s celebrations.
Belgian police were also holding five people over an alleged New Year plot in Brussels.
A few days after the Paris attack, a soccer stadium in Hannover in central Germany was evacuated after a terror threat against a friendly match between Germany and the Netherlands. The authorities never reported any findings of explosives or concrete attack plans.