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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Italy to boost anti-terror steps
Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu after his speech in parliament
Giuseppe Pisanu said he was not seeking emergency powers
The Italian government has announced plans to introduce special measures to combat the threat of terrorist attack.

"Today, after the attacks on Madrid and London, I have to say that terrorism is knocking on Italy's door," Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu told MPs.

Mr Pisanu said security would be stepped up at ports and the public transport system, and mobile phones and the internet would be monitored.

There are growing fears that Italy could be the next target in Europe.

The interior minister gave a measured yet comprehensive response to these fears, says the BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey.

Moderate Islam

Mr Pisanu said direct evidence of an imminent attack was still lacking, but "we have to reinforce the doors of our house".

A special anti-terrorist committee which had been meeting since the London attacks five days ago had established "a list of the most likely targets for a terrorist attack", the minister said.

He said 13,000 sites around the country were being guarded against possible terrorist attack, including public buildings, embassies, ports, railway stations and the Vatican.

The new measures that must be approved by the parliament include:

Tube explosion
We are in a state of intense and prolonged alarm because of the threat that hangs over us and the rest of Europe
Giuseppe Pisanu
Italian Interior Minister

  • doubling to 24 hours the time suspects can be kept in custody without charge

  • interrogating suspects without lawyers present

  • strengthening of measures to prevent terrorists from financing their operations

  • increasing penalties for carrying false documents

  • compiling lists of mobile phone users to help police investigating suspected terrorist crime

  • monitoring more closely immigrants from outside the EU who are already the subject of criminal investigations. Those considered a threat to public order or state security will be summarily expelled.

Mr Pisanu said that although he was not seeking special powers to meet the situation, he wanted parliament to consider very carefully making changes in the criminal code and in judicial procedure to combat what he called the peculiarities of the terrorist threats.

They are casting their shadow over us at this moment in history, he said.

Mr Pisanu said Italy was taking steps both at home and abroad to involve moderate Islam in measures to counter the "common enemy".

Italy has received several threats from Islamic extremists because of its support of the US-led war in Iraq.

Italy takes steps to guard against terror attacks

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