Security efforts minimize Olympic threat

July 22, 2012 at 7:58 AM
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LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- Israeli, British and other security authorities are working to minimize chances of a terror attack at the London Olympics, Israel's defense minister says.

Speaking to reporters at the Tel Hashomer induction center Sunday morning, Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the British intelligence apparatus, calling it "extremely capable."

"This is something we work on anyway, whether there is a threat or not. There is definitely intelligence and operational awareness. Even without concrete threats we must remain alert," Israel Radio quoted Barak saying.

"Israel will defend itself everywhere at all times," he added.

Amos Gilad, head of Israel's Diplomatic and Security Bureau at the Ministry of Defense, denied a report in The Sunday Times that said the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, had dispatched agents to Europe to hunt down terror suspects allegedly recruited to wage attacks during the Olympic Games.

Speaking to Army Radio, Gilad said: "Intelligence does not work that way. You don't send dozens of agents to hunt down ghosts."

The British newspaper said Israeli intelligence agents were hunting Iranian-backed terrorists in Europe to thwart possible attacks on Israeli athletes at the London Olympics. It is the 40th anniversary of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by terrorists at the Olympic village in Munich in 1972.

The Sunday Times said Mossad is "convinced" last week's attack that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver was part of a bigger plan to attack the London Games.

Israel has boosted its security at the national carrier El Al's airport counters and around embassies across the globe. Israel's top intelligence echelon convened Thursday to assess the threat level in various countries throughout the world, The Jerusalem Post said.

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