Austrian police warn of a possible terror attack between Christmas and New Year

© Heinz-Peter Bader
Police in Vienna has stepped up security following a warning about a potential terror attack employing explosives or firearms between the Christmas and New Year holidays. According to police, the warning was issued to several European capitals.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Austrian police said that the warning came from an unidentified “friendly intelligence service” just days before Christmas, offering mostly general information about the possible attacks without specifying potential targets or exact dates.

It added that “several possible names of potential attackers were mentioned, who were checked and the investigation based on (these checks) has so far yielded no concrete results."

“We do not know if these people exist in real life, or if they are only names with no real person behind them. We have no evidence that they are in Vienna, and we have no evidence that they are even in Europe,” Christoph Poelzl, a spokesman for Vienna police, said as quoted by the Guardian.

Poelzl refused to give any further details concerning the terror warning as he did not reveal the list of European capitals mentioned in the warning.

In the view of the warning, Vienna authorities said that no public events would be canceled but police surveillance will increase in the places expected to attract large numbers of people during the specific period.

Police will also pay closer attention to suspicious bags.

Meanwhile, France remains on high alert since Paris attacks in November. Last week, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve ordered police and security forces to be especially watchful during festive church services.