Police raise security threat level in Krakow but say no concrete danger

IMAGE: CNS photo/Pawel Supernak, EPA

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland (CNS) — Polish police have raised the official security threat level at World Youth Day in Krakow, after an Iraqi man was arrested with traces
of explosives.

a police spokesman said the category of “alpha,” or high, was not
linked to any “concrete threat,” adding that security arrangements
were “proceeding smoothly” for the expected arrival of 2 million young
people in the southern city.

determined to assure maximum security for all, and our staffers are doing
everything they should,” said Mariusz Ciarka, spokesman for Poland’s
Warsaw-based police headquarters.

we’re also urging everyone to be vigilant and to inform the police or Youth Day
volunteers if they see anything suspicious, such as baggage or packs left
unattended, and to show understanding if we implement selective controls and
movement restrictions. Safety of such a huge gathering of people is what’s most
important,” Ciarka said July 26 ahead of the official opening ceremony World
Youth Day.

were expecting half a million young people to attend opening ceremonies from
187 countries in Krakow’s Blonia Park.

said security services had so far noted only “minor incidents,” such
as lost documents and small injuries, as well as a July 25 bus crash in which
no one was reported injured.

said police were using mobile X-ray devices and metal detectors, as well as
using dogs trained to detect explosives, at railway and bus stations and major
road hubs around the city, as well as anywhere crowds gathered.

tankers and large trucks had been barred from Krakow, Ciarka said, after a
19-ton truck was driven into a celebration in Nice, France, July 15.

fears are high in Europe in the wake of the Nice outrage and a spate of
Islamist-linked attacks in neighboring Germany, as well as the July 26 killing
of French Father Jacques Hamel, 84, during an attack during a Mass at
Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. The Islamic State group claimed
responsibility for that attack.

police said they had arrested a 48-year-old Iraqi man July 24 in Krakow, after
explosive traces were found in his luggage and his clothes, as well as at
hotels where he had stayed in Krakow and Lodz.

a Krakow prosecutor told journalists there were no grounds for charging the man
with terrorism and said not enough explosive material had been detected to
cause an explosion.

said July 26 that 200 people had so far been barred from entering the country.

police spokesman said drones and “unauthorized flying objects” had
also been banned over a 65-mile zone around Krakow, as well as over the nearby
city of Czestochowa, where Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air Mass July

carrying of arms and dangerous substances had also been outlawed, Ciarka added,
as well as any objects normally not permitted aboard planes.

today, all movements are being limited around Krakow, as well as at Blonia and
the Lagiewniki suburb, where pedestrians will have total priority,” the
police official said. “The Polish government has given the police the task
of serving society by ensuring this huge event passes off safely, and that’s
what we will do.”

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