Saturday, December 19, 2015

Islamic invasion of Europe update (December 19, 2015)

Switzerland boosts counter-terrorism forces
Geneva (AFP) - The Swiss government said Friday it was creating 86 new positions dedicated to combatting terrorism as additional resources were needed to effectively investigate and contain increased security threats.

Swiss counter-terrorism forces have in recent months seen "a sharp rise and diversification" of their workload," the government said in a statement.

There was a heightened need for counter-terrorism investigations in Geneva, which is home to the United Nations' European headquarters and which has been on high alert since December 10 amid a "terrorist threat", it said.

Analysis of suspicious communications and intelligence, increased international intelligence coordination and crisis prevention planning as well as security around buildings housing Swiss and foreign interests were all on the rise, the statement said.

It also noted a sharp hike in the number of police investigations into people suspected of supporting terrorist organisations, with 70 such probes currently ongoing, including 33 that had prompted the country's attorney general's office to launch prosecution.

"This situation is not expected to improve in the near future," the statement said.

Austrian chancellor says wants to accelerate deportations
VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria should step up deportations of people who do not qualify for asylum, Chancellor Werner Faymann said in remarks published on Saturday, striking a tougher tone on migrants as he comes under pressure from his conservative coalition partners.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere, have entered Austria, the last country on the way to Germany, since early September.

Only a fraction of those people, swept up in Europe's worst migration crisis in decades, have applied for asylum in Austria rather than continue their journey into Germany, but the country has struggled to provide them with suitable accommodation.

"We cannot pretend that all refugees actually have grounds for asylum," he said in an interview with newspaper Oesterreich, extracts of which were released on Saturday ahead of publication in Sunday's edition. "Therefore we must intensify deportations."

The term refugee is often used in German to refer to migrants in general, whether or not they meet the criteria for asylum, such as having fled conflict or persecution.

Austria has received 85,000 asylum applications this year, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Austria has said it expects roughly 95,000 applications this year, more than 1 percent of its population, compared with 28,000 registered in 2014.