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Security measures increased in Windsor after Westminster attack

Thames Valley Police is increasing security measures in Windsor from this evening, following the recent terror attack in Westminster . Specialist barriers are being put in place around Windsor Castle ahead of the Guard Change which is set to take place on Wednesday . Security measures and activities, including those for pre-planned events in crowded places have been reviewed by the Force

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hardcastle said: While there is no intelligence to indicate a specific threat to Windsor, recent events in Westminster clearly highlight the need for extra security measures to be introduced . The Force believes that it is proportionate and necessary to put in place extra security measures to further protect and support the public and the Guard Change . This is consistent with security deployments in London . Preventative measures such as these have been put in place across the UK over the past 10 years at various events . The national threat level remains severe, which it has been since 2014, and I would urge the public to be alert to the threat of terror attacks but not alarmed, and to remain vigilant.

The new barriers will support existing road closures and will be used to secure the Guard Change route during the operation . Ch Insp Sarah Grahame, deputy LPA commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, said: I hope that people in Windsor will understand the reasons that these barriers are being introduced, and will see why they are necessary . Windsor is a safe place to live, work and visit, and these extra security measures at the Guard Change will offer further protection for people in the town in light of recent events in Westminster . Acts of terrorism and hate crimes are committed by a small minority of people, but have a big impact on communities, and it is essential that we all continue to work together and share information in order to combat this threat. Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, says: We support the good work of Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police in their work to make Windsor a safer place for those who live, work and visit the town .

These measures will increase security at the changing of the guard ceremony and the council is offering its help where necessary to ensure that this valued and popular tradition can continue.

Airport shooting reignites security debate before French election

PARIS Police questioned and then released relatives of a man shot dead at a Paris airport, as investigators sought clues on why he attacked an army patrol in an incident that has pushed security to the forefront of France’s election campaign.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said late on Saturday that the man, named as 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, had shouted he was there to “die for Allah” when he tried to seize a gun from a woman air force member on patrol at Orly airport.

After throwing down a bag containing a can of petrol and putting an air pistol to the head of the soldier, he was shot three times by her colleagues.

More than 230 people have died in France in the past twoyears at the hands of attackers allied to the militant Islamist group Islamic State, making security a key issue in the two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist frontrunner, told France 2 television on Sunday it was “essential” to maintain the current state of emergency, in force since November 2015 . He reiterated that he would strengthen military operations and intelligence against Islamist militants.

Conservative Francois Fillon said France was in a “situation of virtual civil war” and spoke out against the idea of lifting the state of emergency, as floated by the justice minister last week.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, running on an

anti-immigration, anti-European Union ticket, told a rally that the government was “overwhelmed, stunned, paralysed like a rabbit in the headlights.”

IN AND OUT OF PRISON

Belgacem, who had been in and out of prison for theft and drug offences according to judicial sources, was already on the authorities’ radar . They said he became a radicalised Muslim when he served a prison term several years ago for drug-trafficking.

He had been reporting regularly to police under the terms of a provisional release from custody, and did not have the right to leave the country.

Several hours before he was killed, Belgacem had shot and wounded a police officer with his air pistol when he was stopped for a routine traffic check north of Paris, officials said . He then fled the scene.

He later entered a bar where he was a regular customer in Vitry-sur-Seine on the other side of Paris, and opened fire with his air gun without hitting anyone . He also stole a car before arriving at the airport.

Belgacem’s father, who was initially detained by police but released late on Saturday, denied his son had been involved in terrorism.

“My son has never been a terrorist . He has never prayed: he drinks . And, under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, this is what happens,” the father, whose name was not given, told Europe 1 radio.

He said he had received a phone call from his son in which Belgacem referred to shooting the police officer, saying: “I ask your forgiveness . I screwed up with a policeman.”

An autopsy showed the presence of cannabis and cocaine in Belgacem’s body, as well as an alcohol blood level of 0.93 grams per litre, a judicial source said on Sunday.

The legal limit for alcohol while driving in France is 0.5 g/l.

An earlier search of Belgacem’s home had found several grams of cocaine, the prosecutor said.

Belgacem was born in Paris, according to the prosecutor . French media said his family was of Tunisian origin.

A brother and cousin of Belgacem were also questioned by police and then released on Sunday, the judicial source said.

(Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Sandra Maler)

Airport shooting rekindles security debate ahead of French election

PARIS Police on Sunday questioned relatives of a man shot dead by soldiers at a Paris airport as they sought clues about why he tried to seize an assault rifle in an incident that has pushed security to the top of France’s election campaign.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said late on Saturday that the man, named as 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, had shouted he was there to “die for Allah” when he tried to seize the gun from a woman air force member on patrol at Orly airport.

After throwing down a bag containing a can of petrol and putting an air pistol to the head of the soldier, he was shot three times by her colleagues.

More than 230 people have died in France in the past two years at the hands of attackers allied to the militant Islamist group Islamic State . These include coordinated bombings and shootings in November 2015 in Paris when 130 people were killed and scores injured.

With the country in the throes of a highly-charged election campaign before a two-round presidential election in April and May, the attacks fueled the political debate about security.

Belgacem, who had been in and out of prison for theft and drug offences according to judicial sources, was already on the authorities’ radar . They said he became a radicalized Muslim when he served a prison term several years ago for drug-trafficking.

He had been reporting regularly to police under the terms of a provisional release from custody for theft and he did not have the right to leave the country.

Several hours earlier before he was killed, Belgacem had shot and wounded a police officer with his air pistol after a routine traffic stop north of Paris before fleeing, officials said.

Later he entered a bar in Vitry-sur-Seine on the other side of Paris and opened fire with his air gun without hitting anyone . He also stole a car before arriving at the airport.

“I SCREWED UP”

Belgacem’s father, who was initially detained by police but then released, denied his son had been involved in terrorism.

“My son has never been a terrorist . He has never prayed: he drinks . And, under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, this is what happens,” the father, whose name was not given, told Europe 1.

He said he had received a phone call from his son in which Belgacem referred to shooting the police officer, saying: “I ask your forgiveness . I screwed up with a policeman.”

Police said they were questioning a brother and cousin of Belgacem and an autopsy on the dead man would be carried out .

Molins said on Saturday they would be examining his telephone to establish with whom he had been in contact.

Belgacem was born in Paris, according to the prosecutor .

French media said his family was of Tunisian origin.

Presidential candidates responded swiftly to the incident.

Conservative Francois Fillon said that France was in a “situation of virtual civil war” and spoke out against a proposal to lift a state of emergency in place since the November 2015 attacks.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, running on an anti-immigration, anti-EU ticket, said the Orly attacker could have caused a “massacre”.

“Our government is overwhelmed, stunned, paralyzed like a rabbit in the headlights,” she told an election rally.

(Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Keith Weir)