Home>News Center>Sports

Missile umbrella to shield Athens Olympiad
Updated: 2004-03-16 09:16

A "missile umbrella" made up of Patriot, Stinger and Hawk missile batteries will protect Athens in an effort to boost defense against terrorism during the upcoming Olympic Games scheduled for Aug. 13-29, local media reported Monday.

The air defense map for the safety of the Olympic Games is ready, according to the Athens Greek-language newspaper " Apogevmatini".

The air defense umbrella will be completed with the presence of Mirage 2000 and F-16 interception fighter jets as well as the state-of-art single engine turboprop aircraft T-6A Texan II and flying radar stations.

Similar protection will have other four Greek cities with Olympic venues. The country will also be protected from nuclear threat, as the responsible authorities consider any likelihood.

Security issue has been the top worry for the international community, although Greek government has earmarked a record 650 million euros (US$820 million) for the Olympic security budget, three times as much as that for Sydney Olympic Games, and 50,000 armed personnel, police, coast guards and emergency servicemen for the Olympics.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge has said that "everything humanly possible is being done" for the Olympics, but the security concern has been highlighted following the series of terrorist attacks in Madrid last Thursday, which killed about 200 people and injured another 1,400.

Greek security officials said they were evaluating the bomb blasts, adding that if the Al Qaeda network turned out to be behind the atrocity, it would be the group's first attack in Europe, with all that this entails.

Athens last Friday formally asked NATO to help provide security for the Athens Olympics. This would involve the use of four AWACS early-warning planes, a Czech unit specialized in dealing with nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, while NATO's permanent standing naval force in the Mediterranean would be supported by units from other NATO members' navies, probably under a Greek commander.

Vice Admiral Christos Delimichalis, the head of the Greek coast guard, announced extra security measures at all the country's ports and other areas under coast guard jurisdiction. Security on the railways was also stepped up.

A two-week large-scale Greek-US military exercise aiming to address potential terrorism threats to the August Olympics was underway at undisclosed locations in Greece, the largest of its kind before the Olympics.

  Today's Top News     Top Sports News

China works to address U.S. concern on trade deficit



China, EU consolidate partnership



New planetoid Sedna discovered



Two Chinese abducted by rebels in Sudan



China, France hold joint naval drill



Pakistan kills two dozen terror suspects


  Olympians get boost from 'legal doping'
  China crush Finland in Algarve Cup
  Millwall into last four
  Home win streak at six for Heat, Wang benched
  Bryant's 38 lifts Lakers over Magic in OT
  Agassi, Coria gain at Pacific Life
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
ATHOC reports satisfactory demand for 2004 Olympics tickets