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1ST LEAD Italy to raise security measures in wake of Spanish attacks By Alvise Armellini, dpa

Europe
18.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - Security in crowded areas and high-profile public spaces will be raised, the Italian Interior Ministry announced Friday, in the wake of the two vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks that left 14 dead in Spain.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti "asked to keep up the level of vigilance, strengthening security measures protecting the targets seen as most at risk, as well as significantly crowded places," a statement said.

The note was issued after Minniti chaired a meeting with police and intelligence forces.

Italy is the only major European country to have been spared from terrorist attacks in recent years.

In Rome, access to tourist hotspots such as St Peter‘s Basilica, the Colosseum and the Via del Corso shopping avenue is already protected by armoured vehicles, to reduce the risk of ramming attacks.

On Tuesday, Minniti had said that there was "no trace of an imminent threat" from terrorism in Italy, and credited a government scheme that allows the deportation of foreign Islamist suspects for helping to keep the country safe.

Some 199 were forcibly returned to their country since the scheme was introduced in January 2015, the minister said.

In a sign of solidarity with Spain, the Italian, Spanish and European Union flags were flown at half mast outside the office of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, while lights were due to be turned off at the Colosseum later Friday.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris paid a similar lights-out tribute to the victims of the Spanish terrorist attacks on the night between Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb wrote on Twitter that with an individual possibly still at large in Spain, "We are reinforcing controls on the borders" in conjunction with the Spanish police and Guardia Civil.

 

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