Olympic chiefs unveil security plans

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Operation Gold, a security taskforce incorporating Australian military and police personnel has unveiled plans for security at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Operation Gold officials detailed plans to conduct searches using purpose-trained dogs of every vehicle entering Olympic venues and also outlined its methods of identifying and destroying suspected bombs.

Army Brigadier Gary Byles, commander of the joint taskforce, said 35,000 people, including 4,000 Australian Defence Force personnel, would be involved in the operation.

Other military personnel have been detailed to an anti-terrorism taskforce assigned to prevent any repeats of terrorist attacks at previous Olympics.

Terrorism became a part of the Olympics in September 1972, when guerrillas attacked the Israeli delegation at the Munich Games, killing 11 athletes and a police officer.

At the most recent summer Olympics, a bomb that exploded at Centennial Park in Atlanta killed one woman and injured dozens during the 1996 Games.

Byles said security personnel would be omnipresent but unobtrusive.

"Our aim is to cause minimum disruption to the public," he said. "We want the Games to proceed in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and we're planning to do that."

Operation Gold staff would also provide support in logistics, communications and transport as well as assist with ceremonial duties, he said.

Staff would act as drivers for technical delegates and the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission doping officials.

Commander Paul McKinnon, the New South Wales state police Olympic Security Command Center chief, said the defense forces had been involved with police in Olympic security since the beginning of planning.

"We're very confident that the nature and scale of our planning ... puts us on very strong footing to accommodate an Olympic security overlay that is robust enough to withstand any of the threats that have emerged in recent times," he said.

Australia's special commando troops will begin a new round of Olympics training in May, and the Olympics force will also include operatives from the Australian Security and Intelligence Agency, the equivalent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.