Brussels attacks prompt tighter security across Europe, elsewhere

Governments in Europe and beyond have responded to the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels, calling emergency national security meetings and stepping up controls at airports and other sensitive sites.

FRANCE: Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced the deployment of some 1,600 additional security forces to secure airports and train stations. Thalys trains connecting Paris to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne have been suspended.

NETHERLANDS: Prime Minister Marc Rutte said security was stepped up at airports, train stations, at the border to Belgium and in the parliament in The Hague. Possible further measures on the border may be taken in consultation with Germany and France. The Foreign Ministry advises its citizens not to travel to Brussels.

GERMANY: Police tightened checks at the borders with Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A spokesman declined to give further details but said the move is part of a series of security measures mounted by police at Germany's borders, airports and train stations.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his ministry had created a crisis hotline for Germans travelling in Belgium and their relatives. Those in Brussels should proceed" with heightened attentiveness and caution," the ministry said on its website.

BRITAIN: Britain is increasing police presence at ports, airports, underground stations and international railway stations, Prime Minister David Cameron said after chairing a meeting of the government's emergency committee.

The deployments were part of public "reassurance measures" and "not in relation to any specific information or intelligence," said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, who is Britain's national lead officer for counter-terrorism.

Home Secretary Theresa May said Britain was also carrying out "more intensive checks" at border points, including more searches of vehicles and the use of sniffer dogs.

But May said the government had not raised its official terrorism threat level, which is deemed "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely.

ITALY: Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was due to chair a national security meeting at the Interior Ministry, while police sources said controls have been intensified in key Rome locations, including metro stations, airports and train stations.

SPAIN: Acting Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz called a meeting of anti-terrorism experts to decide whether to raise the national terrorism alert level from the current 4 to 5, the highest possible.

UNITED STATES: The US Department of Homeland Security said it would "not hesitate" to adjust security measures and "continually evaluates the level of protection we provide at federal facilities." Additional security measures were also expected to be taken at US airports.

New York City stepped up security efforts by deploying counterterrorism response teams to crowded areas and transit hubs, the New York Police Department said, noting that there was no indication that the attacks on Brussels had any connection to the city.

A bomb scare prompted the evacuation of part of Denver, Colorado's international airport after sniffer dogs flagged multiple "suspicious" packages. Investigation later showed them to be harmless.

Last update: Wed, 23/03/2016 - 10:25
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