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European countries step up security in the wake of Moscow attack

European countries including Italy are stepping up security in the wake of the recent terrorist attack that killed over 130 people in Moscow.

On Monday, after a meeting concerning public order and security, the country’s interior ministry ordered police forces to intensify surveillance activities.

While the security threat level in Italy had already been raised to maximum in the immediate aftermath of the Moscow terrorist attack on Friday night, the latest measures are focused on boosting safety over Easter.

At least 10.5 million Italians are expected to travel over the Easter holidays, from March 29 to April 1, according to a survey by Italy’s hotel and tourism association Federalberghi.

Many foreign tourists also visit Italy in this period, with this number estimated at 3.3 million during Easter 2023.

Particular attention will be paid to places “with the largest gatherings and transit of people, as well as to all sensitive targets,” such as airports, train stations, and cultural and religious sites, the interior ministry said.

Italian security and intelligence forces were also urged to continue “carefully monitoring activity on the web … to identify any risky situations.”

Similar measures were also announced in France on Sunday, where Prime Minister Gabriel Attal decided to upgrade the “Vigipirate” plan to “urgent attack” level.

The decision comes just a few months ahead of the Olympic Games, to be held in Paris in July. Vigipirate is the key tool in France’s anti-terrorism system, and involves both public and private entities in security efforts.

In Denmark, the security alert was raised last week due to an increased terrorism threat. The threat level will now remain at maximum.

In the United Kingdom, the current national threat level stands at “substantial” or mid-level, the third highest in the country’s five-tier system. ■

Famagusta Gazette