Please sign in to post.

Americans in Switzerland warned

(NBC) U.S. officials warned Americans living in or visiting Switzerland on Friday that they should be extra vigilant following a CIA tip-off that prompted the country to raise its terrorism threat level.

Swiss officials said they had information of a possible planned attack on the city of Geneva. The country's public prosecutor said it was hunting suspects linked to groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

The U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a statement advising Americans of steps they should take.

"In this time of elevated threat, the U.S. Embassy in Bern reminds U.S. citizens to review personal security plans, remain aware of surroundings at all times, and monitor local news stations for updates," the statement said.

"We also recommend maintaining a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance personal security," it added.

Posted by
31464 posts

phred,

I saw that story on the news last night and was very surprised that Switzerland was the location of this latest threat, as the Swiss don't get involved in international politics or send their troops overseas. These evil doers could soon learn this wasn't a good idea in a country where there are many trained soldiers and many people keep military assault weapons at home. The reservists often carry their weapons on trains also (I've seen that on a number of occasions).

Apparently this same group had also issued threats against a number of U.S. and Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver.

Posted by
1179 posts

Everything is possible. But it looks to me that Switzerland is a less likely scenery for terrorism as authorities have a very strong control of the territory. If there is a place where something strange is reported to police in few minutes is Switzerland. If there is a place where most of the male population has military training, is subject to compulsory shooting range exercises and keeps their military weapons home, it is Switzerland.

Posted by
2564 posts

they probably don't care about the Swiss one way or another, but there is a big UN presence in Geneva

Posted by
5617 posts

I wonder if terrorists who plan to self-destruct with a suicide vest anyway aren't so worried about skilled, armed citizens, but may be trying to pull a "neutral" country off the fence, and get it to take sides against their jihad?

Posted by
814 posts

So many misconceptions!

The security level was upped from 2 to 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 and it was done because they received pictures of 4 suspects wanted in the Paris investigation of which they have now arrested two.

As for military training the vast majority do not received training even to the level of a private in most professional European armies. Yes some are allowed to bring their weapons home but almost always no bullets! And yes Swiss professional soldiers are sent overseas with the UN.

In the Kanton of Geneva there are only 8 people licensed to carry, this is down from almost 400 people 20 years a go. All others are licensed to carry a gun in the open, with ammo separated, by the quickest route between home and the range where they are authorized to shoot, no where else.

Posted by
8984 posts

If there is a place where most of the male population has military
training, is subject to compulsory shooting range exercises and keeps
their military weapons home, it is Switzerland.

Israel has a similar setup yet they are no stranger to terrorism.

Posted by
31464 posts

Jim,

Thanks for the clarification on the Swiss military. I should have been more specific about Swiss soldiers being sent overseas. As I understand, they don't get involved in combat operations but do take part in U.N.-sponsored peace keeping operations. The point I was alluding to was since they don't attack other countries, this should make them less likely to be targeted by terrorists.

I would assume that the level of training they receive is similar to that of (for example) the Canadian Forces Reserve soldiers? Although they may not have ammunition on hand during times when they're carrying assault rifles, I'm sure it's readily available if needed. If they needed to respond quickly to a situation, they won't be very effective without ammunition.

Posted by
814 posts

Hi Ken,

Swiss soldiers on UN duties are unarmed and usually only provide logistics support at base camps for the armed units of other nations.

As for militia service it has got far more to do with tradition that actual military work. There is a small core of professional soldiers that actually undertake security work at embassies etc... As for the F18s they are only available during office hours, as we have recently discovered: http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/feb/19/swiss-air-force-ethiopian-airlines-hijacking-office-hours

Posted by
31464 posts

Jim,

The Air Force only operates during office hours - unbelievable!!! I believe we're capable of scrambling F-18's on a moments notice. Hopefully the Swiss Army doesn't operate on the same schedule.

I understand that there was a vote recently on whether to abolish conscription and the result was a resounding "NO". It sounds like the Swiss want to continue with conscription even in these more "peaceful" times (at least Switzerland is peaceful). With the troops that are deployed on peacekeeping missions, hopefully they allow them to at least have a sidearm for personal protection.

According to the news this morning, the ever-efficient Swiss Police have made two arrests in the Geneva area. Also, in a search of a house not related to the original threat a substantial stash of weapons was discovered, including an MG-42 which is rather unusual. The ammunition for that is not as readily available, so that one seems kind of odd.

I was through Geneva in September and had no idea it was such a hotbed of terrorist activity!