Switzerland condemns the attack in Nice and mourns the death of at least two Swiss nationals

Keywords: Terrorism

Press Release, The Federal Council, 15.07.2016

Bern. Switzerland is shocked and appalled by the attack in Nice, which claimed the lives of over 80 people. At least two Swiss citizens were among the victims. The President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, has condemned the attack in the strongest terms and has written to the French President, François Hollande, to express his condolences in the name of the Swiss people. In letters of condolence, other members of the Federal Council also expressed their sympathy and consternation to their French counterparts. On Friday afternoon, the Confederation's Security Core Group met with representatives of the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders of Switzerland to discuss the situation.

The Federal Council is dismayed by the attack in Nice. "The thoughts of the people of Switzerland and the Federal Council are with the victims' families," said the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, in an initial reaction. He condemns the attack in the strongest terms: "Such acts are totally unacceptable. We must combat all forms of terrorism." Flags were flying at half mast on the Federal Palace West Wing in Bern and at the Swiss embassy in Paris after President François Hollande declared a three-day period of national mourning

In the immediate aftermath of the attack on the evening of 14 July, the Swiss consulate in Marseilles and the Crisis Management Centre called their crisis cells into action. Together with the Swiss embassy in Paris and the Swiss honorary consul in Nice, and in close collaboration with the Swiss authorities, they are trying to ascertain whether there are additional Swiss victims. According to the most information available, two Swiss nationals - a woman and a child - did not survive the attack. Inquiries are still ongoing. It cannot be excluded that additional Swiss nationals lost their lives in the attack. The Federal Office of Police has sent liaison persons to Nice to help the French authorities with the identification of the victims. Two members of the FDFA's Crisis Intervention Pool have also been dispatched to Nice and Marseilles.

The Federal Office of Police activated an operational task force after the attack and is coordinating efforts among all partners in Switzerland and abroad, as well as with the French authorities. The Federal Office of Police is also in contact with the French security agencies. The aim is to ascertain whether the attack has any links to Switzerland.

The FDFA Helpline is taking calls around the clock from concerned relatives at +41 800 24-7-365 or +41 58 465 33 33. In its travel advice for France, the FDFA has for some time called attention to the risk of terrorist attacks.  With regard to the global terror threat, the FDFA offers the following advice on 'Terrorism and Kidnappings' in its non-country-specific travel information pages: "Terrorist activities pose a security threat throughout the world, including Europe. The threat stems from organised regional and international groups, as well as from individuals. The FDFA therefore calls for heightened vigilance."

The French authorities are providing information at the following telephone numbers (country code +33): 01-43-17-56-46 (national) / 04-93-72-22-22 (local).

FIS situation assessment

The terrorist attack of 14 July 2016 in Nice confirms the assessment made by the FIS at the beginning of November 2015. No links have been found so far between the assailant in Nice and Switzerland. The threat of terrorist attacks in Switzerland remains unchanged and is still high. The continued high terrorist threat in Europe can be attributed on the one hand to the high number of jihadist-motivated travel movements and on the other to direct calls by the 'Islamic State' and other terrorist groups to carry out attacks against Western targets, as well as to the attacks perpetrated in recent months. 

For Switzerland, attacks with a low logistic requirement pose the most probable threat. Such attacks can be carried out by individuals or by small groups that have either been inspired by jihadi ideology and want to attack local targets with the means available to them, or by those who have returned from a jihadi region and have possibly received military training. Although such attacks can also be carried out in Switzerland, there are to date no concrete indications of a direct threat directed at Switzerland and its interests.

Switzerland and its interests abroad are not primary targets for an attack carried out on behalf of or organised by the Islamic State, core Al-Qaeda or one of their associated groups. At the same time, Switzerland is part of the western world, which jihadis perceive as hostile to Islam, and therefore is a potential target of terrorist attacks. The interests of states that are part of the military coalition against the 'Islamic State', as well as Russian, Jewish/Israeli and Arab interests on Swiss territory continue to be particularly threatened.

The FIS has no concrete information about a threat to important events that are about to take place in Switzerland, including the Tour de France

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