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Berlin Festival Increases Security Measures

With the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe on the rise, organizers at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival, which kicks off Feb. 11, are beefing up security this year, although measures are likely to remain inconspicuous and unobtrusive.

“As always, we are in close contact with the relevant security authorities and are paying close attention to global political events,” said Berlinale spokeswoman Frauke Greiner. “All measures essential to ensure the safety of festivalgoers and guests are being implemented, if necessary at short notice.”

For example, the fest will no longer allow large bags or pieces of luggage to be brought into the theaters and bag searches will be increased.

While Berlinale officials declined to provide further details of the security measures it was implementing or the dimension of the police presence at this year’s event, efforts are likely to be subtle and relatively unnoticeable.

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has said the festival would employ “customized security concepts” that would run quietly in the background and not necessarily be conspicuously visible to the public through an increased uniform presence.

Greiner added, “We are looking forward to a peaceful Berlinale that is open to the world.”

While there have been no recent attacks in Germany attributed to Islamic terrorists, a report issued last month by the international police agency Europol warning of an increased threat in Europe by the Islamic State, or ISIS, garnered headlines around the globe.

Europol, which used the warning to tout its newly opened European Counter Terrorism Centre in the Hague, said in January that Europe faced the most significant terrorist threat in more than a decade.

The international police agency singled out ISIS, stressing that the Paris attacks in November marked “a shift towards a clear international dimension of Islamic State to carry out special forces style attacks in the international environment.” A growing number of foreign fighters are also posing new challenges for the European Union’s member states, it added.







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