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Homeland Security

Seoul Put on Alert Against Terrorism

August 19, 2003 14:59:0

South Korean security forces have been placed on increased alert following a U.S. warning against possible terrorist attacks timed with the Sept. 11 anniversary, the Yonhap News Agency reported quoting officials.

According to officials at Incheon International Airport, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration sent official letters calling for allies to stay fully alert ahead of the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

U.S. officials warned especially against possible terror attacks by Al-Qaida using a hijacked airplane, they said.

South Korean security officials were already on alert to safeguard this year's world university games, which opens in the southeastern provincial city of Daegu on Thursday for an 11-day run.

The Universiade is expected to draw 11,000 athletes and officials from a record 171 countries.

The National Intelligence Service, the main government secret service agency, has been in charge of overall anti-terrorist operations in the country. The agency has recently distributed pamphlets and compact disks containing information that may help reinforce security checks at airports and sea ports, officials said.

To increase security at Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to South Korea, the agency has formed a joint anti-terror squad with 10 government agencies and airport companies to operate until Sept. 5.

The squad includes experts on bombs and other explosives, officials said.

The team planned to conduct a mock anti-gas exercise inside Incheon's passenger terminal on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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