Brussels

Italy involved in largest-ever EU anti-terrorism exercise

Operations given new impetus by Boston attacks

Italy involved in largest-ever EU anti-terrorism exercise

Brussels, April 17 - What is being billed as the largest anti-terrorism exercise ever organized by the European Union has been given fresh impetus by the terror attacks in Boston this week. The overnight exercise "Common Challenge" was slated to kick off Wednesday and involve elite police forces from nine member states including Italy. The simulation - based on the premise of simultaneous terror attacks in all nine states - is designed to test the responsiveness and coordination of forces within the EU. Other EU members taking part were to include Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania. While Italy's simulation was expected to involve a large building under threat, other states would deal with simulations involving schools, transportation, and power infrastructure. The exercise is part of a series of regular operations carried out by the Atlas Network, an association comprising special police units from the EU's 27 member states. The exercise comes just two days after the international marathon in Boston came under a bloody terrorist attack.

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