The Italian Almanac
Italian News - September 24
Milan's readiness to deal with terrorism was tested on Friday with the staging of multiple, simulated attacks in the northern city which left almost 25 people 'dead'. The anti-terrorism drill - the biggest ever held in Italy - involved two simultaneous fake train blasts and a simulated attack on an airport bus complete with hostage-taking.
The first 'bomb' exploded at midday on a train heading from the city centre to Malpensa, Milan's international airport. The explosion took place after the train pulled into the station at Piazza Cadorna in the city centre. Three minutes later, another bomb went off in a carriage on an underground train at the same station. Some 40 minutes later, at Milan's secondary airport of Linate, a fake terrorist armed with a gun tried to plant a bomb at a British Airways check-in desk before leaping aboard a staff bus and taking a driver and two airport workers hostage.
More than 2,000 people took part in the exercises, which brought traffic in the city centre to a standstill as police, firemen and medical and emergency staff rushed to the scenes of the attacks. The drills were coordinated and monitored by Milan's top administrative officer, the prefect, whose office issued updated reports on the number of 'victims'.
The prefecture was in constant contact with the Interior Ministry, which ordered the drills to test the responsiveness and efficiency of emergency services in the event of a real terrorist attack. Milan officials proclaimed the exercises a success, suggesting they had exposed no serious flaws.