News Analysis: Italian minister calls for tighter security after Sri Lanka attacks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-26 21:15:15|Editor: xuxin
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ROME, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The tragic attacks earlier this week in Sri Lanka have cast a new light on vulnerabilities in Italy, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, who called for new security measures to make the country safer.

Italy remains the only major European country that has not suffered a significant foreign terror attack since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, though several attack plans have been foiled by police in recent years.

Salvini, who is also head of the nationalist, right-wing League political party, has instituted a strict closed-door policy for asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East in part because of security concerns. But he said the country still faces significant security risks.

"We have to organize ourselves so that what happened in Sri Lanka does not happen in Italy," Salvini said, calling Italy's law enforcement agencies "the best in the world."

On March 21, a coordinated terror attack set off bombs in eight spots in different parts of Sri Lanka, including the capital. By last count no less than 250 people were killed and more than 500 injured.

According to Alessandro Orsini, director of the Observatory on International Security at LUISS University in Rome, while the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka did not have a direct impact on Italy's security, it is important for Italy to remain vigilant.

"We cannot know what is in the mind of a potential terrorist," Orsini told Xinhua. "There could be an attack tomorrow or we may not see one for many years."

Other analysts pointed to the country's long history battling organized crime networks as a factor in its ability to foil terror plots.

According to Sabrina Magris, president of Ecole Universitaire Internationale, which includes the Institute for Peace and Security, the new attention focused on terror threats as a result of the tragedies in Sri Lanka represents "a good opportunity for Italy to take some useful action" in order to improve security.

"The challenges Italy faced the day before the attacks in Sri Lanka are the exact same threats the country faces now," Magris said in an interview. "But that doesn't mean the country should avoid taking any new action."

Magris explained that there are two main terror threats for a country: those from international organizations and those from internal terror groups. She said international threats are easier to confront in that communications -- online or via telephone -- can be intercepted. Internal threats are more problematic.

"The best thing law enforcement can do is to be vigilant," Magris said. "Look for things that are out of place, monitor people suspected of ties to terror groups in the past. It's a labor-intensive process."