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London 2012: Missiles may be placed at residential flats

 

The Ministry of Defence says it is still evaluating sites to place surface-to-air missiles for the Olympic Games after reports that they could be placed at residential flats.

Residents at a block in Bow, east London, have received a leaflet saying soldiers and police could be stationed there during the Games.

The flats are home to 700 people.

A spokesman said the MoD had not decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems for the Games.

According to journalist Brian Whelan, a resident at the flats, the MoD’s leaflet says the missiles will only be fired as a last resort.

He said: “They are going to have a test run next week, putting high velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they’re stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months.

“It’s a private, gated community with an old watch tower which is now a lift shaft. We have an MoD leaflet saying the building is the only suitable place in the area.

“It says there will be 10 officers plus police present 24/7. I’m not sure if they are going to live in the building.”

‘Not normal’

Mr Whelan also said that the property management company which runs the flats put up posters and gave out the leaflets on Saturday.

London view

A MoD spokesman said: “As announced before Christmas, ground based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the Games.

“Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments.

“As part of our ongoing planning, we can confirm site evaluations have taken place.”

The MoD has previously been considering plans to install surface-to-air missiles in Blackheath and Shooters Hill during the Olympics.

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