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Security Tightened Across Europe in Response to Paris Attacks

Police officers secure the French Embassy in Berlin a day after the Paris attacks, Nov. 14, 2015.
Police officers secure the French Embassy in Berlin a day after the Paris attacks, Nov. 14, 2015.

Governments across Europe held emergency meetings to assess the threat level and stepped up security measures Saturday in response to a series of coordinated attacks in Paris the day before that killed at least 128 people and hurt over 350.

Countries bordering France, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, announced restrictions on traffic and advised their citizens against visiting Paris.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Germany had taken additional security measures to protect the public.

"The situation is grave, but I do not want to talk about gradations and say, 'Today the danger is slightly less, tomorrow it is rather higher.' This danger remains high. ... Since last night, the security authorities in Germany have implemented the necessary measures to ensure public safety, and these measures are ongoing," he said.

Asked about reports that at least one of the attackers in Paris came from Syria, de Maiziere declined to give a direct answer, saying that French authorities were still investigating and it was up to them to inform the public. De Maiziere warned against “hasty links” to the refugee debate.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her interior minister's recent action to tighten border security without telling her. He decided three weeks ago to reapply a regulation, known as the Dublin rule, that requires refugees to apply for asylum in the first European Union country they arrive in.

The decision caused a great deal of tension within the German government, since Merkel had been advocating a more welcoming policy with 800,000 refugees expected to apply for asylum in Germany. But Merkel said Friday that a return to the Dublin rule was fairer for Europe.

Merkel chaired an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss "the situation in France and all related questions."

Meanwhile, German federal police said they were carrying out selective controls along the French-German border, at German airports, on flights arriving from France and on some international trains.

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