Aus experts warn fans not to wear national colours, fly flag

"People should not fly Australian flags. People shouldn't wear an Aussie T-shirt, drape themselves in the Aussie flag or draw attention to themselves in any other clothing that is identifiable as Australian," Roger Henning, the spokesman for counter-terrorism and security consultants Homeland Security Asia-Pacific, was quoted as saying by 'Sunday Telegraph'.

"The Indian Government has declared it can't guarantee the safety of tourists including spectators outside Games venues, so you're on your own. Delhi is not a safe place.
"There is a risk of terrorists kidnapping trophy tourists from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK. There is also real possibility that a terrorist group could abduct a small group, or even a busload of tourists, generating global publicity for their cause," Henning said.

The Federal Government issued travel warning stating there was a "high risk" of a terrorist attack while security experts warned supporters to keep a low profile while in Delhi.

The newspaper claimed that "Australian authorities have received intelligence about a plan by terrorists linked to al-Qaeda to take foreign hostages."

"The sources said the hostage scenario had top levels of government worried but there was a reticence to upgrade the travel warning from "high degree of caution" for fear of angering India," it said.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that Australians should be careful what they wore and confirmed there were continual reports of possible terrorist attacks.

"Visitors to India need to make their own judgments on appropriate clothing, taking into account advice provided in the travel advice," a spokeswoman for Rudd said.

An updated travel advice for India issued by Department of Foreign Affairs said, "Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in India, with little or no warning. We continue to receive reporting that terrorists plan to attack public places, including hotels and tourist locations, in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities."

"Australians in New Delhi should be aware that the Commonwealth Games will be held in a security environment where there is a high risk of terrorism."

Prominent sports manager David Flaskas said that although wearing the Australian flag or green and gold was a highlight at events such as the Olympics, Delhi was different.
"One of the great joys is wearing all the gear - but in this case, everyone needs to be cognisant of what the experts are saying in relation to safety," Flaskas said.
"This is very much one case of people being very careful of what they should be wearing."

University of Wollongong Associate Professor Adam Dolnik, who trains hostage negotiation and SWAT teams around the world and who has just finished studying the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, said it would be difficult to secure a city like Delhi despite reported deployment of elite commandos.

"Terrorists in an environment like the Commonwealth Games will simply go for targets of opportunity, like the Sri Lankan cricket team attack in Lahore (by Pakistani militants in March)," Professor Dolnik said.

"They were targeted not because they were Sri Lankan but because they were a foreign sports team in a high-profile visit. In Delhi, they are deploying commandos to help the police - but the logistics of securing a place like Delhi are a nightmare."

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