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Spain attacks: Government to ramp up security at tourist sites after Barcelona massacre

The Spanish government is to ramp up security at busy tourist sites across the country following this week s attacks that left at least 13 people dead and more than 130 injured, it has said. The country s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, told a press conference on Saturday morning that areas judged to be potential terror targets especially where large numbers of people gather would be given special protection .

We are going to redirect our efforts and will adapt these to every place or area that needs special protection, Mr Zoido told reporters. People of 35 different nationalities are thought to have been injured in the van attack on La Rambla, one of Barcelona s most famous tourist hotspots and authorities worry that terrorists could have eyes on the country s crucial tourism industry.

On Friday and Saturday, there was an increased police presence in Barcelona, with visible patrols across the centre of the city . A specialist police firearms team was visible near La Rambla, with marked vans parked at strategic locations. The overall security response has so far been somewhat hands-off, however, with traffic again allowed to flow freely on the non-pedestrianised section of the boulevard, which has twin traffic lanes either side of a large tiled walkway featuring cafes, artists, and market stalls. The Spanish government has also clarified that it will not be raising its terror alert level to five, the highest level, and will be leaving it at four . Level five indicates that an attack is thought to be imminent and would mean the the presence of soldiers on the streets and at places such as train stations or shopping centres.

The Spanish interior minister gave a press conference on Saturday morning

The minister said that the threat level would stay at four in part because authorities believe the alleged terror cell behind the attacks on Barcelona s La Rambla and in the resort town of Cambrils on Thursday and Friday has been dismantled. This is despite Catalonian police conducting an ongoing manhunt for 22-year old Moroccan national Younes Abouyaaqoub, the suspected driver of the van in Thursday s La Rambla massacre and the new centre of the police investigation. The decision not to raise the threat level was taken after a meeting of the the Bureau of Extraordinary Terrorist Threats, Mr Zoido said, which was attended by security officials.

The Spanish authorities may be considering the impact of a higher threat level to the country s tourist industry the second biggest in the world during high season .

Hoteliers in Barcelona approached by The Independent on Friday reported cancellations following the attack on La Rambla.

Spain Attacks: Government To Ramp Up Security At Tourist Sites After Barcelona MassacreReuse content1

References

  1. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Airport security boss ‘put pipe bomb in pocket’ after confiscating it …

An airport security manager put a pipe bomb into her pocket after it was seized from a passenger’s luggage1, a court has heard. The “crude improvised explosive device” was found in the zip lining of the hand luggage of Nadeem Muhammad2, 43, as he went through security at Manchester Airport3 on 30 January. Security terminal manager Deborah Jeffrey told his trial at Manchester Crown Court she was called over by an officer at the security area of terminal three after the device, made of batteries, masking tape, the tube of a marker pen and wire, was discovered inside Muhammad’s small green suitcase.

She said she was told the item had been swabbed and no trace of explosives had been found so she put it into the pocket of her jacket. She said: “I popped it into my pocket.

“I put the item into my pocket so it wouldn’t go missing.”

Ms Jeffrey, who has worked at the airport for 19 years, said she later put it through an X-ray machine but could not see a detonator and did not believe it was viable. The device was later passed to counter terrorism police and, when examined by experts, found to be a “potentially viable” bomb containing nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose.

Ms Jeffrey said she had been “shocked” to see the object, which was spotted by security officers when Mr Muhammad’s small green suitcase went through scanners at the airport. She said: “I thought ‘my God, what is it?’

“There are strange things people carry in their bags but I’d not seen anything like that before.”

She said she had asked Mr Muhammad how the object got into his case and he said he didn’t know and claimed someone else may have put it there. She said: “He was just very calm and just sat, just calm and quiet.”

Mr Muhammad, who was attempting to board a Ryanair4 flight to Italy, was questioned by counter terrorism police but not arrested.

He returned to the airport on February 5 and flew to Italy. It was only when the device was examined by a forensics officer on February 8 that suspicions were raised and the bomb squad was called. Mr Muhammad, who was born in Pakistan but had an Italian passport, was arrested when he returned to the UK on February 12.

Parts of the improvised explosive were shown to the jury on Tuesday. The court heard the device could have been detonated if action was taken to connect wires seen protruding from it. In a report which was read to the court, forensics expert Lorna Philp said the bomb would have had the potential to cause injury to people and damage to property if detonated.

She said the person who detonated the bomb would have had to be very close to the device to connect the wires, putting themselves at greatest risk of injury. Mr Muhammad, of Tinline Street, Bury, denies possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or property and an alternative charge of possession of explosives under suspicious circumstances. The trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning, when the defence case is due to start.

PA

Airport Security Boss 'put Pipe Bomb In Pocket' After Confiscating It ...Reuse content5

References

  1. ^ seized from a passenger’s luggage (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Nadeem Muhammad (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Manchester Airport (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Ryanair (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Security barriers to be erected at the festival after London and Manchester attacks

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