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Britain To Deploy 1,200 More Troops To Guard Olympics

The new deployment brings to some 18,200 Britain's total announced military deployment to protect the games.
The new deployment brings to some 18,200 Britain's total announced military deployment to protect the games.

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By RFE/RL
The British government has announced that it is deploying 1,200 more troops to protect the London 2012 Olympics.

Jeremy Hunt, the cabinet minister with responsibility for the games, said that with three days to go until the opening ceremony, authorities did not want "to leave anything to chance."  But he insisted that the deployment was not linked to any additional threat.

"We don't want to leave anything to chance," Hunt said. "And given that these troops were on 48 hours notice, this was the last moment to call them up before what will be a very busy weekend."

The new deployment brings to some 18,200 Britain's total announced military deployment to protect the games.

In addition to the troops, more than 20,000 security officers are expected to work to guard the Olympics.

The decision to deploy the additional troops was taken at a meeting of the government's emergency committee, COBRA, on July 24.

Hunt said the government remained confident that enough troops and security officers were available to "deliver a safe and secure games."

He denied the move was linked to the failure of the private security company hired to protect the games, GS4, to hire the number of guards it had promised the government it would provide.

"We are bringing in, calling up 1,200 troops that were on standby," Hunt said. "I do want to stress that this is not because of a deterioration in [security company] G4S's performance. In fact, their performance has been improving and they had an additional 1,100 guards reporting for duty yesterday."

On July 24, the Olympic torch traveled on London's subway, continuing its relay across Britain.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also carry the torch, on the final leg of the relay on July 26.

The torch relay culminates in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the London Games on July 27.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
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