Cumberland Times-News

April 16, 2013

After attack, world’s cities on alert

PAISLEY DODDS
Associated Press

— LONDON — With two high-profile events in the days ahead — Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and the London Marathon — British officials are looking anew at security precautions following the bombings in Boston.

Terror threat levels in Europe and elsewhere, however, have remained unchanged, in contrast to other recent bombings and thwarted attacks that raised alarms and travel warnings.

Such warnings have been issued in the past when threats are considered imminent and with potential international links.

Threat levels also remained unchanged at U.S. defense installations at home and abroad after Monday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, according to a Pentagon spokesman who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press about security.

Britain made last-minute efforts to tighten measures for Wednesday’s funeral for Thatcher, the former prime minister, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is to be attended by hundreds of diplomats and dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II.

The chief of London’s Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the force will carry out more searches and put more officers on the streets of the capital in the coming days as a precaution.

Police with bomb-detecting dogs were seen Tuesday around such London landmarks as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square, but officials said the searches were routine and unrelated to the Boston attacks.

“The (Boston) attacks mean that we will be assessing our security protocols,” said a British security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to be publicly named. “There is some initial information coming out ... but it is too early to draw any conclusions. There doesn’t appear at this point, however, to be a wider threat.”

More than 37,000 runners and a half-million spectators, including Prince Harry, will be at Sunday’s London Marathon. Marathon officials said the race would go on as planned but security was being evaluated.

Security was more evident at sites across the U.S., with military personnel seen near the Pentagon’s subway station in Washington, D.C., Los Angelos and officers deployed to Chicago’s Union Station.

At the White House, the Secret Service expanded its security perimeter after the attacks, shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue and cordoning off the area with yellow police tape.

In New York, authorities deployed highly visible patrol units that move in packs with lights and sirens along with more than 1,000 counterterrorism officers.