EU Ministers to Talk Security in Paris after Train Attack

EU Ministers to Talk Security in Paris after Train Attack
Sat Aug 29, 2015 14:49:38

European ministers gathered in Paris on Saturday to discuss beefing up security on public transport following last week’s foiled jihadist attack on a high-speed train, AFP reports.

Prosecutors have charged 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El Khazzani over the incident, in which he allegedly stepped out of a toilet cubicle in the Amsterdam-Paris train armed with an assault rifle, 270 rounds of ammunition and a Luger pistol strapped to his chest.

He was stopped in his tracks by several French passengers, two young American off-duty servicemen, their student friend and a 62-year-old British consultant, all of whom have since been awarded France’s top honor, the Legion d’Honneur.

European interior and transport ministers decided to meet in the wake of the thwarted attack to discuss security measures.

Ministers from Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Switzerland will meet in Paris, along with EU commissioners.

“It will look at very concrete proposals,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said earlier this week.

“Can we implement simultaneous and coordinated checks in EU countries?,” he asked.

“We must examine whether we can implement a system that allows for more systematic checks in airports, in public transport, in a more coordinated way.”

A source close to Cazeneuve said that the ministers would discuss the feasibility of carrying out targeted checks on people who, for instance, have come from Turkey, a common entrance point to Syria for would-be terrorists.

But experts have said little can realistically be done to guarantee safety on trains.

“Airplanes leave from a specific place—you can build a security apparatus around them,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

“It’s just not possible to do that with trains. You would have to do that at every station from large terminals in Paris to small towns in rural France.”

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