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27 March 2006
BERLIN - Germany will make up to 7,000 soldiers available to help police the World Cup finals, Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in an interview released Saturday.
He told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag the troops would be on standby in case they were needed "to protect the population and guests" attending the month-long tournament beginning June 9.
The figure is much higher than the original estimates of 2,000 troops being called up for World Cup duty.
The newspaper quoted a confidential study prepared by the defence ministry as saying natural disasters, serious accidents and unspecified "events resulting in major damage" could not be ruled out during the competition.
The armed forces was ready to make available sappers, paramedics, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons specialists, units with sniffer dogs, helicopters and other types of aircraft, the study reportedly said.
The newspaper said local communities in Germany had already made 100 specific requests for armed forces help.
Subject: German news
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