FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

Spain plans to reinforce security measures at sports events and concerts

Minister says national threat level will be kept at second-highest after reviewing Manchester details

After reviewing details of the recent suicide attack at a pop concert in Manchester, Spain’s Interior Ministry has decided to keep the country’s terrorism threat level at 4, the second highest. This level was activated in June 2015 in the wake of attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, and means increased monitoring of critical infrastructure such as airports, nuclear power plants and travel hubs.

Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido at Thursday's counter-terrorism meeting.
Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido at Thursday's counter-terrorism meeting.Jaime Villanueva

Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido announced the decision after presiding a meeting of counter-terrorism experts who have been gathering once a week for the last two years.

Zoido said that the circumstances of this latest Jihadist attack are such that Spain’s level does not need to be modified. There are no known links between the Manchester bomber and individuals living in Spain.

Zoido called on citizens to cooperate with law enforcement in the detection of potential Jihadists

However, experts are recommending that the police participate in security measures at crowded public events such as soccer games and music concerts.

The police are being asked to maintain “a permanent state of tension” during the entire duration of these events, and to not let their guard down until attendees have left the area.

“I ask that there be no relaxation of any kind,” said Zoido.

A day earlier, Catalonia’s head of internal affairs, Jordi Jané, had made similar recommendations in light of the fact that the Manchester bomber blew himself up as the concert by US singer Ariana Grande was practically over.

Additional police patrols were sent out in December of last year following the attack on a Berlin Christmas market.

The police are asked to maintain “a permanent state of tension” at crowded events

Zoido also called on citizens to cooperate with law enforcement in the detection of potential Jihadists. The minister underscored that this kind of assistance has already led to several arrests, and expressed rejection of the kind of media leaks about the Manchester bombing that have prompted protests by the governments of Britain and the US. Zoido said it is “essential and fundamental” to keep these kinds of inquiries secret.

The minister rejected a petition by some political parties to call a meeting of signatories of Spain’s Anti-Terrorist Pact, a cross-party agreement to work together on issues of national security. Zoido said he would inform each and every one of the political groups in parliament about the conclusions of this week’s counter-terrorism meeting.

A recent study found that Spain heads the list of EU nations with the biggest death toll from 21st-century terrorism.

English version by Susana Urra.

More information