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Western countries beef up security in wake of Paris attacks

Spanish police

The leaders of the world’s 20 most powerful countries agreed to step up border controls and aviation security in the wake of the Paris attacks that killed 129 people, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The heads of the Group of 20 (G20) largest economies, meeting in Turkey, condemned the attacks claimed by Islamic State as “heinous” and said they remained united in fighting terrorism, according to the draft document.

The finalised document is due to be released later on Sunday.

Britan’s Press Association reported on Sunday that security had been beefed up in UK cities and ports as Britons were urged to remain vigilant, although the terror threat level has not been changed from the second-highest “severe” rating.

Speaking after leading a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee, Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK authorities were working to help find anyone involved in the “barbaric attacks” in the French capital.

May said: “The UK police and security services are working very closely with their counterparts in France and Belgium to identify all those involved and to pursue anyone who may have been involved in the preparation of these barbaric attacks.”

She added: “The UK stands shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with France. The terrorists will not win, we will defeat them.”

Extra security measures have been put in place around Britain, she said. “People will see increased security at the borders, increased checks taking place.

“There is also some increased police presence in major cities as well.”

May confirmed that there were “tried and tested” measures for the military to respond to a marauding attack by terrorist gunmen.

Reports have suggested that special forces are geared to intervene if an attack like the one carried out in Paris was attempted on British soil.

The Home Secretary said: “Since the firearms attack that took place in 2008 in Mumbai, we have been building the capability of police here in the UK to respond to a multiple firearms attack and developing that capability – different training for the police and ensuring that they are able to respond quickly to such an event.

“Indeed there was a major exercise just this summer on the streets of London testing what their response would be to an attack of this sort.

“Of course there are tried and tested arrangements in place for military support to be provided to the police when that’s necessary.

“We are obviously reviewing these arrangements to see whether there is anything we need to learn from what has happened in Paris to further develop our capability.”

Most European countries have stepped up security in the wake of Friday’s coordinated attacks. Soldiers and paramilitary troops toting semi-automatic rifles patrolled outside the Colosseum and inside St Peter’s Square in Rome, as Italy joined the rest of Europe in beefing up security.
Luxembourg, holder of the EU presidency, has called an emergency meeting of European interior ministers on November 20 at France’s request to discuss the European response to the attacks in Paris, it said in a statement.

“Confronted with barbarism and terrorism, Europe stands united with France,” the statement said. The aim is to “strengthen the European response while ensuring the follow-up of the measures taken”.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had asked for the meeting.

It is expected to take place in Brussels, although the timing and precise agenda have not yet been fixed, said an EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In the US,  officials briefed by the Justice Department after the attacks told the Associated Press there was no evidence of any specific or credible threat targeting America.

However patrols were being increased and security measures stepped up nationwide. Heavily-armed officers stood guard in Times Square and extra security was sent to French government sites in New York, Boston and Washington, AP reported.

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