Spanish government to strengthen counter-terrorism measures over Christmas

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Spain to strengthen counter-terrorism measures over Christmas
Image: Ministry of the Interior

The Spanish government has announced that they will strengthen counter-terrorism measures over Christmas, especially in spaces and events attended by large numbers of people.

The Spanish Ministry of the Interior has said that it will strengthen counter-terrorism measures of prevention, protection, and response over the upcoming Christmas period. The order was given during an extraordinary session led by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, in which they evaluated the current threat from terrorism. It was concluded that the risk of terrorism is high, and level 4 of the Terrorism Prevention and Protection Plan is to remain activated, with the measures already in place being adjusted to meet the specific requirements of the Christmas period. These increased security measures will be implemented from December 21 to January 9.

Level 5 is only activated with evidence of an imminent terrorist attack and would involve the militarisation of citizen protection. This level has never been implemented in Spain.

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These measures involve “a strengthening of security presence and counter-terrorism intelligence, control and monitoring capabilities from the National Police, along with the rest of the police entities and other institutions, organisms and operators, public and private, in matters of security, in the framework of their respective competencies and functional and territorial responsibilities,” explained the Ministry of the Interior.

The more intensive measures to be implemented over Christmas will be aimed at providing special surveillance and protection in spaces, means of transport, and religious or recreational events where there may be large gatherings of people.

The Terrorism Prevention and Protection Plan was established in Spain in 2005 after the Madrid terrorist bombings. It was modified in July 2009 to include four levels of alert, each of which is divided into two intensities. In 2015, after the attacks in France, the plan acquired its current system.


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