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|August 23, 2000||
Jewish community happy with Olympic security
Australia's Jewish community is satisfied with security plans for the Sydney Olympics despite reports that Israel was looking to beef up protection for diplomats and athletes, a community spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Australian newspaper reported that the Israeli consulate in Sydney had been reinforced with steel and concrete in preparation for any terrorist threat during the Games.
Jeremy Jones, national vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said Australian authorities were keenly aware of potential security risks.
"We are seeing at the time of the Olympics a real consciousness, federally and at a state level, of what is required by the security forces," Jones told Reuters.
"The most important thing always in these issues is being pre-emptive and what we're seeing is universally positive."
Last month, it was reported that five people linked to extremist groups in the Middle East, Europe and Asia were deported from Australia in a nationwide security sweep ahead of the Olympics.
Israel's consul-general was not immediately available for comment on the newspaper report, but general renovations have been underway at the consulate for several months.
The Australian said builders began reinforcement work at the Israeli consulate last week and that Israeli guards were patrolling the city location.
Australian authorities have said agents from overseas security organisations will not be allowed to carry guns during the Games, which start on September 15.
"Foreign security personnel will not be operational in Australia and will not be carrying weapons," an Olympic security source told Reuters.
"We have measures in place to enforce it. There will be no diplomatic immunity (if foreign agents are found carrying guns)," the source said.
The Australian Defence Force, police and intelligence agencies have been working for up to four years to set up a wide-ranging security operation, codenamed Task Force Gold, for the Sydney Olympics.
Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian extremists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany and Israel was caught smuggling weapons through diplomatic mail bags during the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Mail Sports Editor
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