LONDON – Britain’s Defence Secretary Philip Hammond rules nothing out to protect London during the 2012 Olympics, including the possible use of surface-to-air missiles.
Hammond told Parliament Monday that if the military recommends it, “appropriate ground-to-air defence” could be in place.
Hammond was responding to a question from his predecessor Liam Fox, who resigned as defence secretary last month.
Fox noted that surface-to-air missiles had been in place for the Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta games and asked Hammond to confirm that there would be “a full level of multilayered defence and deterrence” for the upcoming London event.
“All necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic games will be taken,” Hammond said.
Thousands of British soldiers are likely to be posted at Olympic venues after a security review for the 2012 London Games showed that authorities may need to double the number of guards at stadiums and other Olympic sites.
Discussions with the Ministry of Defence are under way after studies suggested that the 10,000 security guards contracted for the games would not be enough. Some 6,000 soldiers are being considered to protect the games.
Security for the Olympics has been a critical – and costly – issue for the games ever since the slaying of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.
The London Games are seen as a high security threat. The British government is planning for the national terror threat to be “severe” during the Olympics, meaning an attempted attack is highly likely.
About 12,000 police officers will also be on duty on the busiest days of the July 27-Aug. 12 games.