Terrorism in Switzerland

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Terrorism in Switzerland has occurred periodically since the 1970s. Switzerland has experienced both domestic and international terrorism over the past several decades, though domestic terrorism was primarily low‐level violence.[1]


A number of left-wing terrorist cells were active in Switzerland in the 1970s. A group known as "Bändlistrasse" was active in Zurich in 1972. A group associated with Italian-German terrorist Petra Krause, was active around Zurich from 1971 to 1975. Members of the German group "Bewegung 2. Juni" (2 June Movement) were active in that period as well.[2]

Armenian terrorists associated with Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide were also active in Switzerland, targeting Turkish diplomats. On May 28, 1976, in Zurich, two bombs caused extensive damage to the office of Garanti Bank and of Labor Attaché of Turkish embassy.[3] On February 6, 1980, in Bern, Turkish Ambassador to Switzerland Doğan Türkmen was attacked. Türkmen escaped with minor wounds.[4] Max Hraïr Kilndjian was sentenced as an accessory to two years imprisonment by the tribunal of Aix-en-Provence.[5]

In 2006, Swiss authorities showed greater awareness of the presence of terrorist groups operating in their country. The Swiss Federal Police described Switzerland as a “jihadi field of operations” in its 2005 terrorism report.[6]

Since 2013, the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) has warned of a heightened threat emanating from jihadi terrorism in Switzerland.[7]


Notable incidents include the Berne incident, El Al Flight 432 attack, and the bombing of Swissair Flight 330.


In 1977, Petra Krause, an Italian-German woman, was extradited from Switzerland to Italy on allegations of supplying arms to outlawed terrorist organizations.[8][9]

In 2015, Swiss police arrested two Syrians and found traces of bomb-making chemicals in a car.[10] The arrested individuals were members of an Islamic State cell planning an attack using explosives and toxic gas.[11]

Since the 2015 Paris attacks, Swiss and French officials say they have been working closely together. Geneva also has raised their alert level.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stahel, Albert A. "Switzerland: Terrorism and its control." Terrorism and Political Violence 4, no. 4 (1992): 206-209.
  2. ^ Bielby, Clare. "Gendering Terror: Eine Geschlechtergeschichte des Linksterrorimus in der Schweiz by Dominique Grisard." German Studies Review 36, no. 3 (2013): 741-743.
  3. ^ Armenian Terrorism: the Past, the Present, the Prospects, Boulder-San Francisco-Oxford: Westview Press, 1991, p. 111; Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Report on Armenian Terrorism and JCAG terrorist Hampig Sassounian, 2010, pp. 36-37.
  4. ^ "Incident Summary for GTDID: 198002060004". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Comité de soutien à Max Kilndjian, Les Arméniens en cour d'assises. Terroristes ou résistants ?, Marseille: Parenthèse, 1982
  6. ^ Terrorism Documents of International and Local Control: Volumes 90 and 91. Oxford University Press. 2008.
  7. ^ Merz, Fabien. "Switzerland's response to the new terrorist threat." (2016).
  8. ^ Getter, Michael; Getter, Michael (12 April 1978). "Hunt for Terrorists Focuses on 'Swiss Problem'" – via washingtonpost.com. 
  9. ^ "The terrorist who became a victim". www.snf.ch. 
  10. ^ CNN, Don Melvin. "Geneva terror arrests: 2 suspects had Syrian passports". CNN. 
  11. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca (24 September 2014). "Switzerland: Iraqi Isis Cell Arrested for Planning Terror Attack". 
  12. ^ "Swiss see 'terrorist threat' in Geneva, hunt for suspects". 10 December 2015 – via Reuters.