Terrorism For Members

Switzerland faces 'increased threat' amid terror attacks in Europe

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Switzerland faces 'increased threat' amid terror attacks in Europe
Switzerland remains on alert amid the Middle East conflict. Image by Marcel from Pixabay.

While the bomb alert at the Federal Palace turned out to be a false alarm this week, has the risk of a terrorist attack in Switzerland risen amid the escalating Middle East conflict and attacks in Europe?


The Federal Palace is no stranger to security incidents. On October 5th, the Bundesplatz was forced to close to an hour due to a suspicious object – the same occurred around one year ago when police were forced to use a bomb disposal robot.

In February, a man in combat uniform attempted to break into the Federal Palace prompting security forces to evacuate not only the parliament building, but also the east and west wings of the Federal Palace, the front section of the National Bank building and two additional banks in the area.

However, no security measures were as extensive as those employed last Wednesday with the entire area around the Federal Palace being cordoned off and multiple buildings evacuated when authorities came across two suspicious objects.

Basel, Bern and Zurich ban demonstrations

The three cities have temporarily banned demonstrations amid the ongoing Middle East conflict and in light of recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium.

Jihadism and terror expert at the University of Lucerne Johannes Saal told 20 Minuten that the ban is a “very clear sign of an increased threat.”

“As in other European countries, there is currently an increased threat scenario in Switzerland," he said.


According to Saal, a terrorist attack cannot be entirely ruled out in Switzerland either as part of a reaction to the Israel-Hamas conflict or by a single perpetrator who acts as a "lone wolf", as was the case in the Brussels attack against Swedish football fans..

Saal further speculated that authorities might also fear that Jewish institutions could become targets in the wake of such demonstrations.

“Security precautions in Jewish institutions have been increased, especially in Zurich and Basel,” he said, “My experience from discussions over the last few days shows that there is an increased awareness of the situation in the cantons and at the federal level.”

While Switzerland remains on high alert, the country has no classic terror warning levels like other European countries.

In response to a proposal dating back to 2018, the Federal Council stated that “a warning level system with numbers and colour codes, as some countries use, is considered too rigid and too schematic” for Switzerland.


Instead, the alpine nation wants to assess the situation on a case-by-case basis and leave the responsibility for drawing up safety lines primarily in the hands of its 26 cantons.

Since 2023, Switzerland does however have a national terror committee which works to monitor radicalised people.

As of today, the Federal Police Office fedpol has not made an announcement regarding a possible terrorist attack threat in the country.

Bern annual light show given go-ahead

The city of Bern has announced that it will go ahead with its upcoming light show – the Rendez-vous Bundesplatz – this Saturday, albeit with increased security measures.

The show will run from Saturday November 21st until 25th. There are three performances every evening except Monday (7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm).

This year the “Mystic” programme – a mystical fairytale forest - will be at the heart of the show. Entry to the event is free.


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