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Italian Official Says Terrorism Could Pose Threat for Winter Olympics

Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu addressed parliament to give an update on the new anti-terrorism measures adopted in Italy in the summer. He warned that a terrorist attack is still possible in Italy and the upcoming Winter Olympics could be a target.

Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu told parliament Friday that Italy is still at risk of a terrorist attack. He said the various threats made against the country via the Internet are aimed heightening our perception of the risk.

The minister was providing an update of the new anti-terrorism measures adopted by Italy in the summer. He said the upcoming Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006 could be a target.

Mr Pisanu said that even though there are no clear signals of preparatory activities, the security of the winter games in Turin becomes a priority.

The Interior Minister assured parliament that a wide-ranging and accurate plan for public security has been prepared for the upcoming Winter Games. He added that the plan provides for 9,000 police officers and a national information center on the Olympics linked to police and intelligence services.

But he warned that the great resonance of the event, which coincides with the electoral campaign in Italy, could be of great interest to terrorist organization.

Mr. Pisanu said that during the first three months of the new anti-terrorism measures, 18 meetings, which were part of terrorist investigations, were held in Italian prisons. He added that four foreigners have been granted stay permits in Italy after offering their collaboration to the investigations.

He also said that 20 foreigners considered dangerous for public security had been expelled from the country. In addition, he confirmed that 203 alleged terrorists have been arrested in Italy.

But commenting on the recent appeal sentence, which released an immigrant who had been charged with international terrorism, the minister said, closer coordination between magistrates is required.

Mr. Pisanu also said that not only Western embassies and offices in Islamic countries are exposed to the risk of terrorism attacks, but also tourists and humanitarian workers. He said al-Qaida's ultimate aim is the creation of a single large Islamic nation.