Geneva police hunt Paris attacks suspects

Geneva police hunt Paris attacks suspects
Posted at 10:02 AM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 11:02:35-05

GENEVA (AP) — Geneva police were "actively searching" Thursday for suspects in connection with an investigation into the Paris attacks last month, and authorities raised the security alert level in the city and surrounding region, Swiss security officials said.

With much of Europe on heightened alert for extremist attacks in recent weeks, Swiss national authorities had flagged "suspicious individuals who could be in Geneva or the Geneva region" to the city's authorities on Wednesday, a statement from the Geneva security department said. It didn't specify how many people were being sought or provide their identities.

The Nov. 13 attacks on Paris, claimed by the Islamic State group, left 130 people dead and hundreds of others wounded. Salah Abdeslam, a fugitive suspected in the deadly attacks in Paris, is still at large. Several arrests were made in Belgium following the attacks.

One Swiss police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter, told The Associated Press that Abdeslam wasn't among those being sought.

Heavily-armed police carrying submachine guns stood guard outside diplomatic missions in Geneva on Thursday. Normally, officers carry lighter weapons. Geneva police were also deploying more officers at the city's train station and airport. The U.N. office in Geneva was also increasing its security precautions.

"As part of investigations conducted both internationally and nationally following the Paris attacks, Geneva police and its partners are actively searching for people flagged by the Confederation," the security department statement said, referring to the Swiss national government.

Police were working with international and national authorities to locate the suspects they believe to be in the Geneva region, officials said.

"We have gone from a vague threat to a specific one," Emmanuelle Lo Verso, a spokeswoman for the security department, told the AP.

She declined to comment on news reports indicating that either four or six suspects were being sought or say whether French or other foreign authorities had pointed out the suspects.

The office of the Swiss federal prosecutor confirmed that federal authorities had passed on information to Geneva police, and added: "As soon as precise and concrete information is available, the appropriate measures will be taken and information will be provided."