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The BBC's Bill Hayton
"The New Zealand police are giving little away"
 real 56k

New Zealand's National Crime Manager, Bill Bishop
"We have been working very closely with the Australian authorities"
 real 28k

Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 05:37 GMT 06:37 UK
Olympic 'bomb plot' foiled
police
Police accidentally uncovered the threat to the Olympics
New Zealand police have uncovered a possible plot to blow up a nuclear reactor in Sydney during next month's Olympic Games.

reactor
The reactor is in Sydney's suburbs
Australian police have been informed and the two forces are working together on the case involving a group of Afghan refugees who had suspicious material in their possession.

The group was reportedly linked with Afghanistan-based terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Detective superintendent Bill Bishop, New Zealand's National Crime manager, said: "That material included a map of Sydney highlighting a nuclear reactor and highlighting entrance and exit routes."

In Sydney, a New South Wales police spokesman said they had been briefed by New Zealand on the potential threat to the Lucas Heights nuclear research reactor in the city's outer suburbs.

Sydney has a population of about 4.5 million which could swell by another million people during the games.

Security tactics

Detectives in Auckland stumbled on the apparent reactor conspiracy during an investigation into people-smuggling by organised crime syndicates.

They conducted a series of house raids in March and in one the lounge had been converted into a virtual command centre, with detailed maps of Sydney and notes on police security tactics, the New Zealand Herald reported.

;laden
The bomb plot was reportedly linked to Osama bid Laden
The site of the reactor, built in 1958 for research purposes, and access routes to it were highlighted.

Entries in a notebook outlined police security tactics, standards and chains of command for the Commonwealth Games held in Auckland in 1990.

It is understood no arrests have been made connected to any plot, but investigations are continuing.

The US State Department calls Saudi multi-millionaire Mr bin Laden "one of the most significant sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today."

According to the US - which has offered a $5m reward for the capture of Mr bin Laden - he was involved in at least three major attacks: the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1996 killing of 19 US soldiers in Saudi Arabia, and the targeting of US embassies in 1998 with bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

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See also:

23 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Olympic powers for Australian army
20 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Gun ban for foreign Olympic security
20 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Web activists target Olympics
10 Aug 00 | History
The history of the Olympics BBC Sport >>
09 Aug 00 | Fans Guide
Sydney: The Olympic City BBC Sport >>
06 Aug 99 | South Asia
Osama bin Laden: America's most wanted
26 Aug 98 | South Asia
Who is Osama bin Laden?
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