Authorities Explain Their Response To Brussels Attacks - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Authorities Explain Their Response To Brussels Attacks

Published March 23, 2016

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Official Facebook of the Foreign Minister

Both the police and the Foreign Ministry have emphasised that the added security measures will not target foreigners, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs seeking “balance between security and freedom”.

As reported, the National Commissioner of the Police, in conjunction with the Chief of the Suðurnes Police, have decided to increase police armaments at Keflavík International Airport. This decision was made in direct response to the series of attacks which took place in Brussels yesterday.

National Police Commissioner Haraldar Johannesen told RÚV that police will be armed at the airport, equipped with bomb-sniffing dogs and assisted by Special Forces. He added that police activities will not focus on foreigners or any specific group in society. However, believes that “it cannot be ruled out that an incident [like Brussels] could happen here.”

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson took a more cautious stance, saying that while he understands increasing preparedness at the airport, there is no reason to increase the terrorist threat level in Iceland. He added that he has neither heard nor seen any indications that Iceland is under threat of a terrorist attack.

At the same time, he told reports that it is critically important to “balance security and freedom” when addressing this matter.

“We have to be careful not to rush to blaming any particular demographic [for terrorism],” he said. “We also have to ask ourselves whether we have to accept some increase in security or surveillance to avoid similar attacks. All this is a fine line, or a balance we need to find.”

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