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Special anti-terror unit deployed in L.A.
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13:46, July 04, 2007

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An elite anti-terror team was deployed in Los Angeles on Tuesday to keep a close watch on mass transit systems during the Independence Day Holiday which falls on July 4.

The team by the name of "VIPER" will help beef up security in the city, said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

"This morning, we were at the Red Line at Union Station," said Nico Melendez of the Los Angeles TSA office.

"VIPER" stands for visible, intermodal protection and response, and teams can be made up of federal air marshals, armed TSA officers, canine teams or combinations of federal and local law enforcement, including Airport Police.

Local law enforcement determines the makeup of each, Melendez said.

Similar teams were deployed in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Houston and San Francisco.

Over the past 18 months, 84 of the teams have been dispatched around the country, Melendez said.

The teams, meant to serve as a deterrent to terrorists, may be deployed at any public transit site, though the TSA had no information about any credible threats in Los Angeles.

The city has been on a high alert following the car bomb attack in Britain.

Source: Xinhua

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