Government pledges to boost counterterrorist agents by 500

28th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

The agents will be dedicated to fighting Islamist and ETA terrorism over the next four years, say interior minister.

28 May 2008

MADRID - Spain will expand the ranks of its intelligence services by 500 agents dedicated to fighting Islamist and ETA terrorism over the next four years, Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba announced Tuesday.

The dramatic increase in the number of spies at the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) and the intelligence branches of the National Police and Civil Guard forms part of a plan to reinforce Spain's security forces over the coming years, Rubalcaba told a congressional committee.

Including the new recruits, the number of counterterrorism agents in Spain has increased by more than 1,800 since the Socialist government took office in 2004, days after Islamist terrorists killed in 191 people aboard Madrid commuter trains in March.

The new increase comes in the wake of an upsurge in violence by Basque terrorist group ETA following a 2006 ceasefire.

Addressing the Congressional Interior Affairs Committee, Rubalcaba unveiled 14 legislative reforms as well as plans to ensure the number of National Police and Civil Guard on Spain's streets will rise to 140,000 by 2012.

He also promised pay rises for officers. Among the planned legislative changes is a proposal to combine the various laws safeguarding the rights of victims of terrorism into a single piece of legislation.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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