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Authorities across Europe are on high alert after Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, in which at least 128 people were killed, according to latest estimates.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi said Italy would adopt heightened security measures following the attacks, a series of coordinated bombings and shooting sprees in seven separate locations across the French capital.
This follows a similar move by French president Francois Hollande, who tightened security at the country’s ports and borders and mobilized some 1,500 soldiers to guard Paris’s parliament buildings, religious sites and tourist attractions.
Across Europe, the attacks, the most deadly since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, have led to calls for tighter security and more police on the street. While Hollande holds an emergency security meeting Saturday with his ministers and military chiefs, U.K. prime minister David Cameron has announced a meeting of his government’s Cobra emergency committee following the attacks.
In a mid-day speech, Cameron said “we must be prepared for a number of British casualties” in the “brutal” Paris attacks. He also told France: “Your values are our values, your pain is our pain, your fight is our fight.”
Britain, however, has not raised its official threat level, which remains at “severe.” Speaking on British television, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said he expects more police officers at public events in the U.K. and increased security at ports.
Queen Elizabeth II said she and husband Prince Philip “have been deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life in Paris.”
In Germany, chancellor Angela Merkel has offered France its counter-terrorism resources to aid in the investigation into the attacks, as well as helping in capturing possible assailants still at large. In remarkably blunt language, Merkel called the men who carried out the attacks “murderers who hate…this life of freedom.” The attack “was aimed not just at Paris, it targeted and it hits all of us,” she added.
But, despite heightened tensions and tighter security, for much of Europe waking up Saturday to news of the Paris attacks, life continues as normal. While there were noticeably fewer people walking the streets of Paris – obeying the government’s recommendation to stay indoors – shops and most businesses were open as usual.
Disneyland Paris said it would keep its doors closed, and the Paris municipality shut all public spaces, including schools, museums, libraries, universities, gyms, swimming pools and markets.
President Hollande on Saturday announced three days of public mourning for the victims of the attacks.
Rhonda Richford in Paris and Georg Szalai in London contributed to this report.
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