Large-Scale Anti-Terror Training to be Held in Sofia

Politics » DOMESTIC | March 22, 2016, Tuesday // 16:18
Bulgaria: Large-Scale Anti-Terror Training to be Held in Sofia Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova. Photo: BGNES

Bulgaria responded to Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Brussels by heightening security measures across the country.

A large-scale anti-terrorism training, which has been planned two months ago, will be held in Sofia in the late hours on Tuesday in order to assess the capacity of different state structures to react in the event of crises.

This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova at an extraordinary briefing on Tuesday.

The training will also test the level of coordination and exchange of information between authorities.

The defence ministry informed that servicemen will also participate in the training.

Due to the training, there will be heightened police presence in different places across the Bulgarian capital and areas where exercises are scheduled to take place will be sealed off.

The interior ministry will take all necessary measures to maintain pubic order and the normal functioning of infrastructure on the territory of Sofia.

The ministry asks citizens to show understanding and apologises for any inconveniences caused

Bachvarova informed that she has convened the national operational headquarters on security and migration, which will be attended by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

The interior minister added that a specialised police operation has began shortly after the attacks.

She assured that at present there is no information on any direct threat to Bulgaria.

In her words, Bulgarian authorities are continuously monitoring the latest developments in Brussels and are in constant contact with partner security services.

In the first minutes after the attacks in Brussels, Bulgaria activated preventive measures outlined in the national plan on countering terrorism.

The level of security has been heightened at all transport hubs of national importance – airports, railway stations, ports as well as underground stations in Sofia.

Key sites in the capital are being inspected with the assistance of Sofia municipality and a heightened border control has been ordered.

Earlier, it was announced that security has been stepped up at Sofia airport where scheduled flights between the Bulgarian and Belgian capitals have been cancelled.

Bachvarova said that the attacks pose exceptionally serious threat to European security, as these were carried out in places where the security measures and level of anti-terrorism readiness are considered to be the highest in Europe.

According to latest reports, the attacks targeting the Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station claimed the lives of at least 34 people and left more than hundred other injured.

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Tags: terrorism, border control, Bulgaria, sofia, Brussels, terrorist attack, Rumyana Bachvarova, security, Zaventem, Maelbeek, airport, metro station, police, Boyko Borisov, Defence, training

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