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SECURITY

Swiss sense of security increases: report

In 2018 the Swiss generally feel very safe, are optimistic about Switzerland’s future and less pessimistic than in the past about the global political situation.

Swiss sense of security increases: report
swiss-image.ch/Nico Schaerer

These are the findings of the Security 2018 study conducted by the Military Academy and Centre for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich.

Since 1999 the annual survey has evaluated trends in public opinion on foreign, security and defence policy issues.

In the 2018 report special attention was paid to the fight against terrorism, the authors said.

Source: ETH

At 95 percent, the Swiss sense of security is “very high”, the ETH said, and significantly more respondents feel safe in public areas.

Fear of crime is minimal and has not changed in comparison with last year.

But there is more confidence around with 85 percent of Swiss saying they are optimistic about Switzerland’s future, compared with 80 percent in 2017.

Asked about what was more important, personal freedom or protection against terror attacks, 64 percent said the latter.

They agreed with the statement that all means should be used to fight terrorism, even if this meant limiting personal freedoms.

“Combined with the strong support for increased measures to tackle terrorism (89 percent) this shows that the issue remains a high priority in 2018,” the authors concluded.

A majority trust the security services’ ability to fight terrorism; 62 percent agreed that increased security measures could prevent terror attacks.

Trust in Swiss institutions and authorities in general is higher than the long-term average, the authors said.

The police are trusted most, followed by the courts and the federal government.

 

TERRORISM

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

Four suspected members or sympathisers of the Islamic State group have been detained in Germany and Switzerland in a cross-border operation, prosecutors from the two countries said Tuesday.

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

In Switzerland, three people were picked up in the cantons of Zurich, Sankt Gallen and Lucerne, national authorities said, adding that seven further searches were also carried out.

The suspects, whose identities were not released, are accused of “participation in or support for the outlawed organisation Islamic State”.

In Germany, a man was detained in the western town of Roemerberg, federal prosecutors said.

Identified only as Aleem N., he is “strongly suspected of preparing a serious violent attack threatening the security of the state and of belonging to a foreign terrorist organisation”.

He is believed to have attempted to travel from Germany via Turkey to Syria in September 2020.

“In Syria, the suspect wanted to join the foreign terrorist organisation Islamic State, attain military training and then take part in combat or terrorist attacks,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

However, Aleem N. was unable to reach Syria for reasons that were not immediately clear and returned to Germany.

“At the latest in April 2021 he joined Isis in Germany and carried out vast propaganda activities for the group,” prosecutors said.

His duties included “mainly translating official texts, videos and audio messages by Isis from Arabic into German and distributing them on various Telegram channels in German-speaking areas”.

“Isis considered such activities to be equivalent to taking part directly in violent jihad,” it added.

The suspect is also believed to have taken part in a telephone conversation with Isis leaders in late 2021 to “verify his reliability” before travelling to “IS zones of operation”.

However, “a further attempt” to reach Syria in January 2022 “failed again”.

Aleem N. was to appear on Tuesday before a federal judge who will decide whether to remand him in custody.

German intelligence services estimate that more than 1,150 people have travelled from Germany to Iraq and Syria since 2011 for Islamist reasons.

More than a third have since returned to Germany, while at least 270 have been killed in Iraq or Syria.

“A low three-digit-number” are currently detained in the two countries, according to the intelligence services’ 2021 report.

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