Reuters International

ROME (Reuters) - Italy raised the security level at its tourist ports on Thursday, a coastguard spokesman said, meaning intensified controls of people and vehicles during the height of the summer tourist season.

Coastguard Admiral Vincenzo Melone sent a letter ordering passenger and cruise-ship ports to raise their alert level to 2 from 1, the spokesman said. The highest level is 3. The coastguard gave no reason for the move.

Italy's national security alert level was already at 2, the highest possible level in absence of a direct attack, following Islamist attacks in France and Belgium last year.

After the Nice attack last month in which more than 80 people were run down by a delivery truck, Italy increased border controls, and Rome last week boosted security at the Colosseum and Vatican after a French priest was murdered in his church.

Italy last week signalled it was willing to allow the use of its airbases and airspace for attacks against Islamic State militants in Libya, which have continued this week, if the United States asked.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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