Six missile sites to protect London Olympics

Six missile launchers will be positioned to protect the London Olympics from terrorist attacks. Two missile sites are to be located on the rooftops of London apartment buildings.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A woman looks at a Rapier air defense system on the outskirts of London during a training exercise prior to the Summer Olympics. The Rapier surface-to-air missile can be used to shoot down a Boeing 747 if needed to protect a stadium full of 80,000 Olympic spectators.

Britain's defense secretary has confirmed the six sites that will host surface-to-air missiles as part of security measures to protect the Summer Games.

Philip Hammond told lawmakers Tuesday the weapons will be located across the capital, including on the rooftops of two east London apartment blocks.

Residents at the Lexington Building and the 17-story Fred Wigg Tower, both in East London, have expressed concern at hosting the missiles. Defense officials say those buildings offer the best vantage points across London's Olympic Park.

IN PICTURES: Countdown to the London Olympics

As The Christian Science Monitor reported in May, some residents are challenging the location of missiles in their neighborhood. A ministry spokeswoman said they had consulted with local landlords and already gained their permission at the six sites. Any complaints from tenants should be directed to their landlord, she said.

“The safety of the games is paramount and for the last four months, working alongside the police, the MOD has conducted a broad range of community engagement in those areas where ground-based air defence may be sited. This work has included extensive talks with local authorities and landowners alongside briefing local MPs, talking with community representatives and, most recently, delivering leaflets to the homes of residents in those areas in question," she said.

Missiles will also be stationed at a reservoir and farmland in east London and along hillsides in south London.

Some residents are continuing legal challenges to the missile batteries. Hammond says he is confident of defeating their objections in court.

IN PICTURES: Countdown to the London Olympics

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