NEWS

LOTIDIS

The operational plans have been hammered out, and Lotidis told Kathimerini that 10,000 troops from all three branches of the armed services will be involved in the security arrangements for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The force is larger than originally planned and, according to Lotidis, will be staffed by soldiers from the regular army. The special forces will also contribute backup in the form of health, medical and meteorological services, dealing with nuclear and biochemical threats, and in mapping areas where water sports are to be held. Special forces staff will perform various tasks, such as monitoring pedestrians and vehicles, inspecting installations, escorting members of the Olympic Family, defusing explosive mechanisms and guarding vital installations. Troops involved in the security projects will be installed in army camps in Attica three months before the Games start. In August, the Joint Chiefs of Staff set up a special branch under a lieutenant general to deal with security in cooperation with the Public Order Ministry, which is responsible for the matter.