Following the London bombings, Italy has tightened security on trains, public offices, ports, stations airports and at likely targets such as St Peters square where large crowds gathered on Sunday to hear Pope Benedict appeal for a stop to terrorist activity.

The Italian minister for the interior, Giuseppe Pisanu, has prepared a series of measures that he will propose to parliament. He is suggesting that a special public prosecutor be appointed to deal exclusively with terrorism, along the lines of the one set up to deal with the mafia.

Pisanu wants the security forces to be able to hold anyone suspected of terrorist activity for 24 hours without charge, rather than the12 hours currently permitted. He also wants suspects to be questioned without their lawyer being present. Pisanu is suggesting that permits to stay in Italy could be made available to illegal immigrants who provide information about terrorist activity.

In Italy, records of telephone calls are kept for four years and the interior minister is suggesting that greater controls be made when cell phone users buy SIM cards.