Government beefs up security at subway stations and malls

Terrorism experts are concerned because Spain is frequently mentioned in jihadist forums

Security has grown tight outside Congress.
Security has grown tight outside Congress.JULIÁN ROJAS

Since the government raised the terror level threat this week, a large contingent of riot police and Civil Guard officers have been deployed to patrol areas and secure sites that could be potential targets of terrorist attacks.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández on Thursday said he could not specify how many officers have been called out, because they will be used depending on needs. The National Police’s Intervention Unit and the Reserve and Security Groups of the Civil Guard are the largest forces now patrolling the streets across the country.

Spain announced a level three alert, out of a maximum of four, on Wednesday following the attack in Paris on the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead and several others wounded.

Security will be increased in commercial areas, as well as at sporting events and concerts

Francisco Martínez, secretary of state for security, has issued instructions to beef up security in crucial areas until the terror alert is dropped.

Security will remain tight around facilities and areas that could be targeted by jihadist terrorists, especially at crucial points such as air and sea ports, rail and bus stations, power grids and nuclear plants.

The National Center for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure has come up with a list of 200 installations that need to be protected. Security will also be increased in commercial areas that attract a lot of people, as well as at sporting events and concerts.

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The Spanish interior minister will travel to Paris on Sunday to attend an emergency meeting called by France to discuss anti-terrorism measures. Fernández will meet his European counterparts as well as top US officials, including US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Fernández maintains that there hasn’t been a specific threat made against Spain by jihadists. But anti-terrorism experts said they were “very worried” because Spain is frequently mentioned in comments posted in jihadist websites, and the Islamic State repeatedly refers to Spain as Al-Andalus in its propaganda videos, a reference to the parts of modern Spain and Portugal that fell under Islamic rule during medieval times. Islamic State followers have called for the reconquest of Al-Andalus.

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