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British military to call up reserves in Olympics security operation

(Xinhua)

09:17, February 21, 2012

LONDON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The British military announced on Monday that it intended to call up reserve soldiers to help protect Olympic venues from terrorist attack.

The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) said that up to 2,100 reservists would be called up between now and the Games, as part of a 13,500 strong military force deployed to strengthen civilian security operations, led by London's Metropolitan Police force and other regional forces throughout Britain, and the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

British defense secretary Philip Hammond said that some of the reservists, whose call up would mean that they have to break off from their normal civilian jobs, would provide a range of specialist capabilities.

Hammond said in a written parliamentary statement, "Both the reservist and overall defense contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed by other nations at recent Olympic Games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics. "

The budget for Games security was almost doubled as recently as December, rising from 282 million pounds (about 443 million U.S. dollars) to 553 million pounds.

The MOD has ordered all three branches of its military to prepare to support LOCOG's security arrangements at the Games, which begin on July 27, and to deploy specialist equipment not available to LOCOG.

The call-up period for the reservists finishes on September 20, after the end of the Paralympic Games.

When the Olympics starts, British air force Typhoon fighter jets will be on instant standby at an airfield close to London in case of terror attack.

Close to the Olympic Park, the British navy's largest vessel, HMS Ocean, will be moored. Ocean is a helicopter carrier, and its aircraft will be patrolling the skies above the Olympic Park, and across London.

Off the coast of Weymouth, where Olympic sailing events are set to take place, the navy's flagship HMS Bulwark will be on guard, with helicopters flying off its flight deck.

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