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Terror everywhere! German press warns of terrorist attacks in Spain, Austria & Germany - The dangerous dates

Terror returns. I guess it's always here. The Bild newspaper cites religious buildings in cities like Madrid and Cologne as targets. Already Brussels warned earlier this month of a "huge danger".

There is already a warning of a "huge danger" of possible attacks in the European Union. The Interior Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, had said this in response to the polarisation caused by the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas.

"With the war between Israel and Hamas and the polarisation it is causing in our society, with the upcoming Christmas period there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union, as we have seen recently in Paris."

Last October, in Belgium, the perpetrator of two murders in a café in the Schaarbeek neighbourhood of Brussels was killed.

The victims were two Swedes who travelled to the Belgian capital to watch the Belgium-Sweden match for the Euro2024 qualifiers. The perpetrator, identified by authorities, was a 45-year-old Tunisian man named Abdesalem L., who was living illegally in Brussels.

As a result of these events, according to Bild, the security forces of several European countries "received indications that an Islamist terrorist cell may want to carry out several attacks in Europe."

Dates in red

The aforementioned German newspaper cites in its information the dates of Christmas marked in red on the calendar, such as New Year's Eve. According to the German newspaper, the targets could also include Christmas celebrations and religious buildings in Madrid and other cities such as Cologne (Germany) and Vienna (Austria).

Tagesschau, the news program of the TV channel Das Erste, published the agents' search of the entrance to Cologne Cathedral.

This gothic-style Catholic church closed its doors after mass this Saturday, December 23. Both agents and police dogs searched the premises for five hours. The aforementioned television network explained that the thorough security checks for access to this place of worship will remain in place at least until New Year's Eve.

Special tension measures in Spain

In Spain, the Ministry of the Interior announced "special intensity" measures from Christmas until 10 January. Reinforcement of the prevention and protection measures included in level 4 out of 5 of the anti-terrorist alert (high risk), in force since 2015. Reinforcement of the protection applied in various public places such as public transport, places of worship, leisure or entertainment events.

The Terrorist Threat Assessment Panel, chaired by Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, gave the green light to approve the plan days ago. Operational reinforcement will be maintained throughout the national territory for 24 hours during the period mentioned above. In Madrid, a total of 800 National Police officers will ensure security in the capital over the Christmas period.

In the case of Austria, three people from Islamist circles have already been arrested due to information about possible terrorist attacks around Christmas and New Year, according to the public broadcaster ORF. Despite these arrests, the Austrian authorities said that, "at present, there are no indications that an attack is imminent in Vienna".

Similarly, they carried out searches at the homes of the three arrested persons who were transferred to Vienna-Josefstadt Prison. The Vienna authorities have also confirmed that security checks will be extended to Christmas markets. The European Commission unveiled a proposal including an extra €30 million to protect places of worship across the EU amid fears they could be targeted for attacks.

According to European Union figures, between 2019 and 2021, 29 jihadist or far-right plots were foiled in the EU and the UK, while two years ago there were 15 terrorist incidents on EU soil. Those with the highest number of arrests are jihadist or religiously motivated. In numbers, 2016 was the year with the most arrests, 768 in total.

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