Athens security chief sees no clear threat to Games

SYDNEY: No clear threat had been identified so far that the Athens Olympics had been marked for likely terror attacks, the security chief for the Games organisers (ATHOC) said on Tuesday. 

The comments by Peter Ryan, who led security for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, came despite fears after this month's Madrid train bombings that the August 13-29 Games could be the target of attacks. 

“There is no direct threat against the Olympic Games or against Greece,” Ryan said. 

“Greece is a relatively peaceful, quite neutral country,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio. 

Ryan said four times as many guards would be used in Athens than were used in Sydney and that the Greek capital's security bill would be many times higher than Sydney's. 

While the Sydney Games passed without any major security incidents, Ryan has said in the past that the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States meant that Athens must prepare for the “unthinkable”. 

Ryan said the challenge would be for ATHOC to provide adequate security without intruding on the enjoyment of the Games. 

The Greek government is staging the biggest security operation in the Games' 108-year modern history, costing more than 650 million euros (US$800 million) – at least three times the amount spent in Sydney in 2000. 

More than 45,000 security staff, including 7,000 troops, will guard the Games and escort teams to and from sports venues. 

The government has asked NATO to assist with air and sea patrols and also set up a seven-nation security advisory group.  

Measures planned include more than 1,400 security cameras and aerial surveillance by helicopters, a blimp and AWACS aircraft. A no-fly zone will be imposed around venues and other sites. – Agencies 

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