ATHENS ø Greece, shaken by Al Qaida's massive bombing attack in
Spain, has requested NATO help to protect the Olympic Games.
Greek officials said the government in Athens has formally asked NATO
for assistance in securing the Olympic Games in August, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the
request from NATO included aircraft and naval vessels to patrol Greece's air
space and territorial
"The government has asked for the contribution of NATO for the security
of the Olympic Games," a Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday. "This
contribution will concern air control and joint patrolling of the sea and
for protection against a nuclear, biological or chemical attack."
The request was announced one day after 200 people were killed in
multiple bombings in commuter trains in Madrid. Al Qaida has claimed
responsibility and warned that other allies of the United States would be
Officials said Greece has increased deployment of troops and security
officers at airports and border crossings. They said Athens was concerned
that Al Qaida would send operatives disguised as migrant laborers to Greece.
Vice Admiral Christos Delimihalis, commander of the Hellenic Coast
Guard, said authorities have intensified counter-insurgency measures at all
Greek ports. He said the decision was taken in consultation with new
Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, who was briefed on planned
security measures in ports and areas under coast guard jurisdiction for the
Last week, Greece, spending about $800 million to guard
athletes and facilities, launched a two week exercise to test security
systems as well as the response of troops deployed in the Olympic Games.
Greece plans to deploy more than 50,000 troops as well as helicopters, a
blimp and airborne early-warning and control system aircraft. Authorities
also intend to impose a no-fly zone around key sites in Greece during the
Over the weekend, Greek authorities found a small quantity of explosives
electronic detonator under a train that was meant to have been loaded with
the northern port of Thessaloniki. Later, officials said that the 700 grams
of explosives and
the two detonators found under a train carriage were not connected.