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Reports Of Terrorism Mar New Year Celebrations Worldwide

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House before the midnight fireworks that ushered in the new year on December 31, 2015.
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House before the midnight fireworks that ushered in the new year on December 31, 2015.

Reports of thwarted terrorist attacks in Munich, New York, France, and other places marred celebrations of New Year's worldwide.

Police in Munich evacuated the city's busiest train stations and warned of a "serious, imminent" threat of attack an hour before midnight local time December 31. French authorities had shared intelligence about likely suicide attacks by five to seven bombers linked to the Islamic State group, authorities said.

French President Francois Hollande warned a nation that suffered two major terrorist assaults during 2015 that "the threat is still there.... We often thwart attacks." He kept France's terror alert on its "highest level."

And in New York state, U.S, authorities said they thwarted a planned attack by arresting a man who had hoped to prove he was worthy of joining IS by attacking and killing people celebrating the New Year in a bar in Rochester.

The developments came as millions of people around the world sought to stave off terrorism fears as they celebrated the New Year.

In Bangkok, thousands of police were present as revelers rang in 2016 at the site of a deadly bombing that occurred in October.

In Dubai, an elaborate fireworks display started near the Burj Khalifa -- the world's tallest building -- as a massive fire engulfed a 63-storey hotel that was nearby.

Dubai officials said at least 14 people suffered minor injuries from the fire, which police said is about 90 percent controlled.

The cause of the blaze at the five-star Address Hotel is unknown.

In Paris, residents -- still recovering from attacks by Islamic extremists in November that killed 130 people and in January that killed Charlie Hebdo journalists -- took part in reduced celebrations, as French authorities canceled all official firework celebrations.

More than 60,000 police were on duty over New Year's in France.

Brussels Arrests

In Brussels, Belgian authorities detained three people for questioning on suspicion that a terror attack was being planned for the New Year's celebrations in the Belgian capital.

Three others detained after searches were conducted around the city on December 31 were later released. Two men were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of involvement in an attack on Brussels.

Official New Year's celebrations in Belgium were also canceled.

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said it was "better not to take risks" in announcing the cancelation of the city's New Year's activities.

In Japan, New Year's Eve is the biggest holiday in the country, and millions of people celebrated by eating bowls of noodles to symbolize longevity and to go to temples for the ringing of large bronze bells.

In Beijing, a huge celebration was held near the Chinese capital's Forbidden City with fireworks.

Beijing's shopping and restaurant areas are under a security alert and the police presence is heavier than normal.

In Palestine's Gaza Strip, the Islamist ruling Hamas party banned New Year's celebrations because it said it is a "Western custom" that "contradicts the instructions of the Islamic religion."

A police spokesman said hotels and restaurants were allowed to hold parties one day before or one day after New Year's.

Londoners enjoyed major celebrations and a giant fireworks display despite a terror threat that is listed as "severe."

Thousands of police checked bags and were posted around the city because of the terrorism threat.

In New York, a throng of 1 million revelers in Times Square rang in the New Year with cheers and confetti, warding off jitters over extremist attacks that had led authorities to post 6,000 police officers at the event. No violence marred he celebration.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa, and CNN