US and Europe beef up security
WASHINGTON: European governments tightened security across the continent and US authorities beefed up security measures on the rail network on Friday in the wake of Madrid’s horrific train bombings, but security officials said they would not raise the country’s color-coded terrorism alert system.
US police and rail workers were urged late on Thursday to increase their vigilance after 198 people were killed and more than 1,400 were injured in Madrid when 10 bombs exploded in the city’s commuter train system. But a US Homeland Security Department spokeswoman said a similar attack seems unlikely for now in the United States. “There are no specific indicators of threat against the rail system,” the spokeswoman, Valerie Smith, said. “We are not raising the (terrorism alert) level,” she said.
As Greece’s new government appealed to NATO for help with security at the Olympic Games in August — seen as a prime target for potential attacks — several national governments announced they were stepping up border controls and internal security. Belgium and Luxembourg moved to increase security around all the major European institutions — with special measures taken to protect Spanish interests in Brussels. Unspecified security steps were also taken to protect Belgian train stations and airports. In France, where authorities have been working closely with Spain to stamp out armed Basque separatism, police reinforcements were deployed along the countries’ shared border, which runs through the Basque region. —Agencies