WC 2003 - Security beefed up for Aussies in view of war

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2003, 1:30 [IST]
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Sydney: South African security forces are keeping a close watch on the Australian cricket team in view of possible threats to the players because of their country's strong support for the war on Iraq.Though security would be stepped up anyway for World Cup final between India and Australia as South African President Thabo Mbeki would be attending, police said additional measures were also being taken."Australia's involvement in the conflict is being taken into consideration," Ben van Deventer, the director of police and member of the cricket World Cup security directorate, was on Friday quoted as saying in 'The Age'."For Australia, we do note what is happening in the rest of the world and we have received certain instructions from the South African Government. That is basically to make sure that the Australian team is properly protected and secured wherever they are going," he said. "We are focusing on the Australian team, but it does not mean we are neglecting the other teams," he said. Van Deventer said intelligence sources were constantly updating the police about possible security threats and added that the Australian team had not expressed any unease about security. World Cup executive director Ali Bacher said the security forces had been on high alert "from day one", and that would be maintained up to Sunday's final regardless of the situation in the Gulf. "We have said all along we want a safe and secure event. I am confident we will achieve it and we will achieve it," he said. PTI

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