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|August 30, 2000||
Loner seen as main Olympics security threatBelinda Goldsmith in Canberra
The head of Sydney's Olympic Village said on Wednesday that a lone attacker rather than an organised terrorist group posed the biggest security threat to the Games.
"The real danger will come, rather than from some huge well-financed, well-resourced terrorist group...but from the individual nutter making a bomb in the basement or garage."
Australian authorities have been playing down news reports that New Zealand police uncovered plans which seemed to point to an attack on a Sydney research nuclear reactor during an investigation into an immigration racket involving Afghan refugees.
Richardson said about 70 security agencies from around the globe had been working with Australian authorities over the past few years to prepare for the Sydney Olympics which start on September 15 and close on October 1.
Security preparations at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta were blown apart when a bomb exploded in the city's Centennial Park, killing a Georgian woman and injuring about 100 others, one of whom later died. U.S. Police are still hunting serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph in connection with the blast.
"That would be the kind of thing a police department would find almost impossible to prepare against," said Richardson.
"There is an enormous effort being done to track down any potential danger and no more could be done. All we can do is hope and pray it will all be OK."
Security is always a key issue at every Olympics, the world's most watched event, with a daily audience of three billion expected to tune into the Sydney Games.
Units including the elite Special Air Services commandos, navy divers and a Black Hawk helicopter squadron have been training for 18 months to deal with potential threats ranging from a Munich-style terrorist attack to weapons of mass destruction.
The only Games to be hit by a serious incident before Atlanta was Munich in 1972 when gunmen from the radical Palestinian Black September group killed two Israeli athletes and took nine hostages after breaking into their Olympic Village quarters.
Police tried to rescue the athletes but all nine captives died in the shoot-out along with five Palestinians and one policeman.
Mail Sports Editor
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