Ten Casualties in Mock Olympic Terrorist Attack

Published May 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Four "hostages" and six "terrorists" were "killed" during a mock three-day siege at Sydney's Olympic baseball complex this week, New South Wales Police Commissioner Peter Ryan revealed Friday. 

Despite the civilian toll, the security exercise had proved a runaway success, Ryan said. 

"I think it went extraordinarily well in my experience," he told journalists. 

"The security forces received no casualties, six terrorists were killed and, I think, four hostages also died. 

"The causes of death have to be ascertained but we do believe at this stage that they were already dead before (we) stormed the stronghold." 

Codenamed Ring True, the last and largest anti-terrorist test before the Games is understood to have involved a fake gas attack by white supremacists during a baseball match between the United States and Cuba. 

The exercise began on Wednesday afternoon with a series of minor explosions and gunshots, after which the guerrillas took some 40 people prisoner on a first-floor room. 

Six of the captives were released after exhaustive negotiations early Thursday, Ryan said. 

The remainders were liberated on Friday. 

Ryan said the exercise had been designed to explore ways that terrorists might slip the security net during the Olympics and gain access to a venue. 

"It was deliberately structured that way so we could work backwards and see where weaknesses could be found in our arrangements," he said. 

Ring True involved some 500 personnel drawn from state and federal police services, the defense forces and various federal security groups including the intelligence services. 

Inter-agency cooperation in preparation for the Games was running like "a well-oiled machine", Ryan said. 

Debriefings on the mock attack will be held over the next two or three days. 

Unlike the estimated 100,000 dollar (58,000 US) damage bill incurred by Olympic security personnel last Thursday in a similar exercise at the softball stadium, this week's scenario had caused minimal damage, Ryan said. 

"There was minor damage occasioned," he said. "It has been repaired... and it's been accepted by the venue owners" - (AFP)

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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