• Switzerland's news in English
Geneva terror alert
Geneva police hunt for jihadist terror suspects
An armed French gendarme at the France–Switzerland border. File photo: AFP

Geneva police hunt for jihadist terror suspects

AFP/The Local · 10 Dec 2015, 17:04

Published: 10 Dec 2015 17:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The canton of Geneva's security department said it had received information on Wednesday from Swiss federal authorities concerning "suspicious individuals likely to be in Geneva or the Geneva area."
Police were "actively looking" for these individuals "in the context of the investigation following the Paris attacks", the department said in a statement, while reinforcements were deployed at key locations including United Nations buildings.

In a statement, Geneva justice authorities said the public prosecutor's office had opened a criminal investigation into "unlawful preparatory acts" that is being led by cantonal attorney general Olivier Jornot and chief prosecutor Yves Bertossa.

The investigation was launched after Swiss officials received information from the US about suspects actively being sought, the Tribune de Genève newspaper reported online.  

"We went from a vague threat to a specific threat," Geneva security spokesman Emmanuelle Lo Verso told Swiss Radio, adding that the search for the suspects was at "a very active phase."
A security source at the United Nations complex in Geneva told AFP that the search was for four people with possible ties to the Islamic State group which claimed the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris last month.

The Tribune de Geneve reported that an additional two people were being sought.
The individuals were not believed to have any direct link to the Paris atrocities.

UN offices evacuated

The UN source said the Palais des Nations — the UN's European headquarters — was evacuated on Wednesday night as security personnel conducted office-to-office searches.
Security guards posted at the UN gates were also carrying sub-machine guns on Thursday, a departure from normal practice.
The statement from Geneva's government said police "have increased their level of vigilance", while the ATS new agency reported that security reinforcements were being deployed at key buildings around the city, including the headquarters of major international organizations and the airport.

The development emerges a day before representatives of the US, Russia and the United Nations were scheduled to hold talks on the Syria crisis in Geneva. 

Russian deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov said Russia will present its "vision" for intensifying joint efforts to fight terrorism in Syria.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, will represent Washington at the meeting.

Kirby was quoted as saying the talks would "try to get at the framework and the architecture for a cease-fire". 

Story continues below…

According to ATS, the heightened alert level has not led to the cancellation of L'Escalade, a major festival due to be held in Geneva's historic old town on Sunday.

Organizers said that extra police patrols would be instated for the event, which features 800 people marching in historic costumes to celebrate a historic victory in 1602, when Genevans repelled attacking soldiers from Savoy.
Geneva is just over 500 kilometres from Paris and the Swiss city is almost entirely enclosed by France, with some border crossings often unstaffed.
Last month, French police searched the homes of two imams from Geneva's main mosque, which is just metres from the UN complex.
The imams reportedly live in the French border town of Ferney-Voltaire.
Swiss media reports said leaders at the mosque had been preaching extremist ideology, but there was no indication from police that the two imams were implicated in any wrongdoing.
Guards armed with machine guns outside the entrance to UN headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Richard Juilliart/AFP 


For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available