Published On: Wed, Mar 27th, 2024
World | 3,981 views

Italy raises terror alert and surveillance of ‘sensitive’ popular tourist hotspots | World | News

In the wake of the recent attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State group, Italy has heightened its security measures, mirroring the actions taken by France.

The increased vigilance aims to safeguard against potential terror threats as Europe braces for major upcoming events, including the Paris Olympics and the European Championship in Germany.

Following a national security council meeting on Monday, Italy announced plans to elevate security protocols around Holy Week observances leading up to Easter this weekend.

The Italian Interior Ministry emphasised that both surveillance and checks will be intensified, with a focus on areas of high footfall and transit, as well as sensitive targets.

The ministry said: “Both surveillance and checks will be increased, paying the most attention to the places of greatest aggregation and transit of people, as well as sensitive targets.”

The heightened security measures coincide with a busy schedule of events for Pope Francis in Rome and at the Vatican in the days preceding Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the Interior Ministry reiterated that the threat posed by Islamic extremists remains significant. Despite the Moscow attack, the country’s risk assessment has not been revised thus far.

In Serbia, a visible increase in security presence was also noted over the weekend, with secret police officers armed with machine guns patrolling the streets of Belgrade.

President Aleksandar Vucic disclosed that both uniformed and plainclothes officers would monitor sports venues and shopping malls in the capital. However, critics condemned the move as unnecessary and aimed at instilling fear among the population.

The affiliate of the Islamic State group, known by various names such as ISIS-K, IS-K, or ISPK, has claimed responsibility for the Moscow attack, a claim corroborated by US and Western officials. This affiliate has a history of perpetrating attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s rise to power in 2021, including the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul airport and a bombing in Kerman, Iran.

German authorities have linked IS-K to multiple alleged plots in Europe since July, underscoring the group’s presence on the continent. French President Emmanuel Macron alluded to intelligence implicating an IS entity in the Moscow attack and suggested the group’s involvement in recent attempted attacks in France.

As part of the security measures, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced the readiness of 4,000 troops to be deployed alongside the 3,000 soldiers already stationed across the country at key locations like train stations, schools, places of worship, and concert halls.

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