Mock exercise ahead of 2004

Olympics organizers staged their first mock chemical, biological and radioactive materials attack exercise yesterday, less than a year before the start of the 2004 Athens Games. The exercise, dubbed «Blazing Sword,» is the fifth major Olympic exercise deploying forces from all of Greece’s security and rescue agencies in under two years. It has been preceded by «Trojan Horse» (November 2001), «Gordian Knot» (May 2002), «Rainbow» (November 2002) and «Lernaean Hydra» (May 2003). Intelligence officers, chemical and nuclear energy centers and health services will also be involved in the two-day drill. Yesterday, the first day of the drill, officials from the security advisory group, comprising experts from Spain, Germany, Britain, the United States, Israel, Australia and France, as well as Greek experts, briefed participants on the nature and uses of the weapons to be used in an attack. Today, «participants will be asked to respond to the exercise… based on a complex simulated scenario set in the Olympics,» police said in a statement. Games organizers have planned the biggest security operation in the history of the Olympics, with a $600 million security plan. More than 45,000 police, military and special forces – three times as many as at the 2000 Sydney Olympics – will be on duty during the two weeks of the Games. (Reuters/Kathimerini)

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