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|September 6, 2000||
Arms seized from Israeli guardsPaul Tait
Australian police confiscated bullet-proof vests and pistol holsters from guards accompanying the Israeli Olympic team, a Sydney Olympics security source said on Wednesday.
"They got caught in the (athletes' village). It's my understanding the items were found in some luggage," the source told Reuters.
The source said no weapons were found.
The Australian Customs Service said only that some "personal protective equipment" had been seized from officials of an unidentified team.
"The items were found by New South Wales police during screening of baggage entering the Olympic Village last Saturday night," Customs official Leon Bedington said.
"The items have been formally seized by Customs and a warning letter delivered to the relevant team official. Customs is not taking any further action."
In a busy day for Olympic security officials, mail workers in a building near Sydney's international airport were evacuated when a chemical began leaking from a shipment of stuffed toys.
"It was enough to have the place closed down," the source said. "There were some stuffed toys of some description...one of the things was dropped and when it was dropped the thing split open, so they shut the place down."
No one was hurt in the incident and a sample of the chemical was sent away for testing.
Police confirmed a chemical had spilled from the package and that Olympic security officials were informed immediately but would give no further details.
Australian authorities have said repeatedly agents from overseas security organisations will not be allowed to carry guns during the Games.
They also said measures had been put in place to ensure that diplomatic immunity would not cover any unauthorised person found carrying weapons.
Police did not identify the team involved in the athletes village discovery and described the incident as a misunderstanding. They said team officials co-operated with police and Customs when the discovery was made.
"At no time did the officials attempt to hide the articles, and when authorities informed them it was inappropriate to bring them into the country, they handed them over," police senior sergeant Kevin Daley said in a statement
Local media have reported that several countries, including Israel and the United States, had asked for dispensation to bring their own armed security agents to protect their teams.
Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian extremists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Israel was caught smuggling weapons through diplomatic mail bags during the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Israeli diplomatic officials have expressed confidence in security at the Sydney Olympics.
A joint police and defence force operation, codenamed Task Force Gold, has been assembled to provide security.
It comprises 1,000 personnel from 12 agencies, including Special Services commandos and a Black Hawk helicopter squadron.
The Australian Defence Force has identified more than 100 possible venues for terrorist attacks during the Games.
The security source said no one single credible threat to the Games had been received.
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