2 suspects with ‘traces of explosives’ caught in Geneva amid anti-ISIS sweep – reports

© Pierre Albouy
Police in Geneva have arrested two men amid an ongoing anti-terror operation to track down suspected Islamic State affiliates in the city. According to local reports, traces of explosives were discovered in the suspects' vehicle.

Swiss media reports that the two suspects, allegedly of Syrian descent, were arrested on Thonon road on Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear whether the arrests had been linked to the terror threat level, which was increased by the government on Thursday.

Traces of explosives were found in the car of the two men arrested, local newspaper Tribune de Geneve reports. So far the police have not commented on the arrests.

The city remains on high alert following a Swiss government statement that they “received information from a foreign authority regarding a potential Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) cell in the Geneva area,” President Simonetta Sommaruga said Thursday.

While “there is currently no indication that there was a concrete attack planned,” the alert reached three points on the five-point scale, indicating an unprecedented and high probability attack level.

Swiss daily Le Temps reports that US intelligence had identified terrorist cells in Chicago, Toronto and Geneva.

“We do not know their names, we do not know where they came from. They apparently are using noms de guerre,” the source told the paper.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the CIA had provided a photo of four men of IS operatives that could potentially be on Swiss territory. It still remains unclear whether or not the current manhunt is connected to bordering France attacks last month that left 130 people dead.

Following the tip security in the city was increased at the UN building, the airport, train stations, and the synagogues.

In addition, three raids that were carried out on Thursday night led to the discovery of weapons. However no arrests were made, Tribune de Geneve’s sources revealed.

On Friday, Pierre Maudet, Geneva’s mayor spoke with Director General of the UN in Geneva, Michael Moller to assure him that United Nations work in the city is being safeguarded. Maudet assured that the Geneva police would maintain a high level of vigilance and reinforce security around the Palais des Nations and other international organizations.

On a side-note representatives from Russia, the United States and the United Nations have ended trilateral technical consultations on Syria in Geneva on Friday. The technical talks were done in preparation for the next meeting of the International Syria Support Group.