Chief Police Commissioner Károly Papp has ordered the ongoing guarding of the Embassy of Germany and the German Ambassador’s residence, as well as of the reinforced and enhanced guarding of the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Tibor Lakatos, Head of Division responsible for the maintenance of public order at the National Police Headquarters announced at an extraordinary press conference held on Tuesday in Budapest.
He also told the press that the national police commissioner ordered the implementation of the measures necessary in the interest of the protection of the population in Budapest and in Pest County already on Monday evening, while on Tuesday, at the request of Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, he extended similar measures to the entire territory of the country. As part of this, police presence on public premises has been further enhanced: there is ongoing police presence on the premises of larger shopping centres and Christmas markets as well as on the premises of events attracting people in large numbers, while the police are recurringly monitoring less frequented venues, Mr Lakatos said.
He reiterated: the police are carrying out their duties on the basis of the instruction issued with respect to their responsibilities related to the holidays. Based on this, effective as of 25 November, they are paying particular attention to monitoring Christmas markets and shopping centres. He added: they are also focusing on guaranteeing the security of Christmas church celebrations as well as on securing the New Year’s Eve events taking place in public areas. Additionally, enforcing the restrictions relating to the entry of lorries and utility vehicles will also be another important task of the police, he added.
According to his information, they will grant any requests they may receive from the German authorities within the shortest possible time, but up to 12.30 p.m. no such request had been received. A liaison officer delegated to the German federal criminal investigation police force, who is in Germany also at present, is also helping the Hungarian police in cooperation between the two police forces, he indicated.
Hungarian, Austrian and German police officers jointly monitor the trains travelling on the route between Budapest and Munich, international trains travelling through the country are guarded by members of the rapid response police unit, while at the main railway stations of Budapest the railway sub-departments set up at the Budapest Police Headquarters ensure permanent police presence, he said.
He took the view: in the present situation, the measures implemented to date are adequate, but they continuously communicate with the Counter Terrorism Centre, the Counter-terrorism Information and Criminal Analysis Centre and the Constitution Protection Office, and should any change occur in Hungary’s threat exposure based on the information provided by them, they will forthwith adopt any further measures that may be necessary.
In answer to a journalist’s question to the effect that, based on press reports, the person suspected of carrying out the attack at the Berlin Christmas market arrived in Germany via the Balkans route, Mr Lakatos said: at present, they have no information on the perpetrator, nor about how he reached Germany. He repeated: in this context they have received no information from the German authorities.
The Ministry of Interior informed the Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday morning that the Counter-Terrorism Coordination Committee has not raised the terror alert level in Hungary on account of the attacks which occurred in European cities on Monday, it remains level 3, medium. At the same time, they will enhance police presence, in particular, in the vicinity of shopping centres and Christmas markets.
According to the Ministry’s reasoning, the Committee did not change the terror alert level which is currently in force because, in the body’s evaluation, no intelligence relating to the possible commission of acts of terrorism in Hungary has been gathered even at the level of references.
On Monday evening, a lorry drove into the crowd at one of the most famous Christmas markets at the centre of Berlin’s Western part. Twelve people died, dozens were injured, several of them seriously.
Andrei Karlov, Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey was also killed in an attack on Monday in Ankara. A 22-year-old off-duty police officer shot the Russian diplomat at a photo exhibition. The perpetrator of the attack was shot dead.
There was shooting in the vicinity of the main Zurich railway station as well on Monday. An unknown man shot at praying men, and then escaped. He was not apprehended by late evening. Three people were seriously injured.
(Ministry of Interior)