Cyprus ranks lower than other European countries as regards terrorism warning levels but the government is already taking measures, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Thursday.
Speaking at the House, Nicolaou commented the latest travel advice issued by the UK, which evaluates Cyprus as being among the countries facing ‘general threat’ from terrorism. He said that we rank on an intermediate level.
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners,” the advice said.
“We are on lower levels than some European Union countries. Despite this, however, and having regard to the broader risk, […] which links many EU countries, and the fact that we are geographically close to those areas where these problems occur, we have taken a number of measures,” Nicolaou told MPs.
Risk factors are evaluated regularly by a special committee of experts, Nicolaou said. “The police too are regularly assessing their ability to respond as well as assessing satisfaction levels of measures taken so far,” he said.
According to the travel advice of the British government, as “there is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time”.
As regards Cyprus, the British government refers to the March 29 hijack of the domestic flight of Egypt Air from Alexandria to Cairo that was diverted to Larnaca airport.
It added though that “the incident was resolved without loss of life and was not believed to be terrorist related”. “The alleged hijacker was arrested by the Cypriot authorities. Operations at Larnaca airport have returned to normal,” it said.
Around a million British nationals visit Cyprus every year, it said, and most visits are trouble-free.
Other European countries that were assessed as facing general threat from terrorism, are Denmark, Sweden, Greece, and Italy.
Among the high risk countries are Belgium, Germany, France, and Spain.
Iceland, Malta, Switzerland, and Poland are among the low threat EU countries, according to the travel advice.