NATO AWACS jets to guard German World Cup

5th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2006, BERLIN/AMSTERDAM - NATO surveillance jets will likely guard German airspace during the 2006 football World Cup, an Alliance spokesman said Thursday.

5 January 2006

BERLIN/AMSTERDAM - NATO surveillance jets will likely guard German airspace during the 2006 football World Cup, an Alliance spokesman said Thursday.

The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes carry early warning systems to provide airborne surveillance and command and control functions to the armed services.

Robert Firman, a spokesman at Germany's NATO AWACS base in Geilenkirchen, said it was "very likely" that jets from the base would be deployed over Germany during the World Cup, which runs June 9 to July 9.

The AWACS flights have been called for by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

There are fears of terrorist attacks on the World Cup and the newspaper Die Welt this week said the games were seen as a "a premium terrorist target."

Meanwhile a standoff developed between environmental activists and the Dutch authorities Thursday over the planned felling of trees along the German border to improve safety for NATO AWACS aircraft using the nearby Geilenkirchen airfield.

Dozens of activists of the organization Groenfront! (Green Front) climbed trees to build huts and hang protest banners, ignoring an order to vacate the woodland near the town of Schinveld in the southeastern province of Limburg.

Although the order to vacate went into effect early Thursday, police and military helicopters monitoring the activists did not intervene as locals brought in refreshments.

The Dutch Environment Ministry has ordered taller trees over a 20-hectare area to be felled and a 6-hectare area to be cleared entirely to facilitate the take-off and landing of AWACS aircraft at the Geilenkirchen airbase across the border in Germany.

Indications from across the German border were that the trees would be felled by the end of next week.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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