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Tight security won't spoil Doha Games - organisers

ASIAN GAMES: Security at the biggest sporting event ever held in the troubled Middle East will not unduly affect Asian Games athletes and spectators, organisers said on Thursday.

"This is a competition and we have to secure the Games but we have to let everyone enjoy the competition too," Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) spokesman Ahmed Abdulla Al Khulaifi said.

Qatar, a key U.S. ally, has deployed 8,000 personnel from five government ministries in Doha to ensure there is no threat to athletes ansd spectators during the Dec. 1-15 Games, a security official said.

Supporters of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden have staged attacks in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but Qatar prides itself on its security, despite two car bombings in the last two years which shocked the oil-rich state.

In March last 2005, a Briton was killed and 12 others wounded when a car loaded with explosives rammed into a building housing a theatre popular with westerners.

That followed another car bombing 13 months earlier, which killed exiled Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev and two others as they returned from a Mosque.

Al Khulaifi said the Qatari government had formed a special security task force exclusively for the Games, which would work alongside existing state agencies.

Friday's opening ceremony at the Khalifa stdaium in Doha will be attended 10,000 athletes and officials with 40,000 spectators.

DOHA, Thursday, Reuters

 

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