On Thursday evening, Munich police evacuated the Hauptbahnhof station and Pasing station at the western end of the city center, and warned citizens of an imminent terrorist attack.
Aktuelle Hinweise, dass in #München ein Terroranschlag geplant ist. Bitte meidet Menschenansammlungen und die Bahnhöfe Hauptbahnhof + Pasing
— Polizei München (@PolizeiMuenchen) December 31, 2015
Translation: “Current indications that a terrorist attack is planned in Munich. Please avoid crowds and the train stations Hauptbahnhof station and Pasing.”
This was the scene as nearly 600 security personnel including police and special forces were dispatched.
The tip – which apparently came from “foreign intelligence services” – was described as “concrete.”
“The threat very specifically referred to midnight and to these two places,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told journalists.
The alleged plot was simple enough: “…seven Iraqis living in Munich were named as the potential attackers, and they were planning to enter the stations in pairs and blow themselves up simultaneously,” The Guardian says, citing Bavarian state broadcaster BR which also said the tip came from American and French intelligence services.
BR suggests the attack was set to mirror the Paris attacks with at least some of the suspects wielding Kalashnikovs. Here’s more (translated):
“The information came after information from the Bayerischen Rundfunk from sources of American intelligence services: The speech was about five to seven Iraqis who would in Munich with Kalashnikov submachine guns carry out an attack in similar to the assassinations of Paris. Specifically, two stations have been cited as possible targets there.Providing the information were also live with concrete names of suspects and the information, a part of the possible assassins would in an apartment-hotel at the Landsberger Straße.”
“The inhabitants of this house were checked,” BR continues, adding that it “was a large-scale, day-long observation.” No suspects were identified. When the warning came again on New Year’s Eve, authorities decided to notify the public and close the train stations.
A spokeswoman for the Munich police wouldn’t confirm the nationalities of the would-be attackers or whether authorities had started a manhunt. She was willing, however, to blame ISIS: “Investigations are happening, but I cannot give out any details, that is a tactical information,” she told the Guardian. “I can’t confirm whether they are Iraqis, but it was apparently a group of five to seven people affiliated to ISIS.”
Here’s what she said when the stations were reopened around 4 a.m.: “The closures at the main station and the Pasing station have been lifted, but there selective controls are being carried out there. The situation after midnight is more relaxed than it was before midnight, but notwithstanding that we cannot give the all clear. We had a terrorist warning from the French secret service and we are still taking it seriously, because we can’t rule out that it is not…