NEWS

Greece braces for refugees

The government yesterday stepped up measures to protect potential terrorist targets, and is preparing for an eventual wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Iraq by strengthening border patrols on land and sea. According to estimates by the Economic and Social Committee, about 600,000 people will flee Iraq in the increasingly likely event of a war, with a third of them attempting to cross into the EU via Turkey and Greece. The coast guard has been placed under maximum alert in the eastern Aegean and cooperates closely with the navy in patrolling the area, including ports. Coast guard officers said all needed measures are in place but asked for EU assistance. In Attica alone, 1,000 policemen are patrolling embassies and public buildings including Olympic sites and public utilities. Antonis Kouselinis, head of the National Biological and Toxic Hazards Prevention Council, said, «We are well prepared for every eventuality.»