ROME, 31st December, 2015 (WAM) — Capital cities all over the world are on high alert over fears of terrorist attacks during the New Year Eve’s celebrations, according to Italian news reports.

The Italian News Agency, AGI, reported today that the Austrian police service revealed that shortly before Christmas, a “friendly” intelligence service had passed on a warning to European capitals of a possible attack in a “crowded place” on New Year’s Eve.

“The arrest of suspects in Brussels and Ankara over the last few hours in Brussels and Ankara, where they were believed to have been planning terrorist attacks, has done nothing to calm fears,” the agency said, adding that “police in all the European capitals, from Paris onwards, are on high alert and have drawn up plans and bolstered security measures. Following last week’s terror alert in Austria, around 500 police officers will patrol popular meeting places and the city centre in Vienna.”

All planned celebrations are due to go ahead and additional safety precautions will be in place. Participants have been asked not to bring bags or rucksacks to events. In Berlin, security measures have been strengthened around the areas in which the most popular parties traditionally take place where more than a million people are expected to see in the New Year on Thursday.

The German Red Cross has also increased its volunteer numbers to 280. The area will be closed off, with just five access points and five security checkpoints. Rucksacks, large bags, suitcases, fireworks, glass bottles, alcohol and sharp or blunt objects will all be confiscated.

Meanwhile in London, there will be more officers on the streets, on trains and on the London Underground. The UK government web site describes the terrorist threat as “severe”, which “means that a terrorist attack is highly likely.” They also say that “if you suspect someone is involved in terrorism in any way or witness something suspicious you can contact the police, report suspicious activity to MI5 or report online terrorist material.” They assure all that reports will remain anonymous, said AGI.

WAM/Rasha/Moran