The Sidelines : Security Tight at Maccabiah Games

From Times wire services

The 13th Maccabiah Games opened today amid tight security with a record 4,350 Jewish athletes from around the world competing in events ranging from chess to track and field.

Hundreds of police, backed by paramilitary border patrol units and an anti-terrorist squad, were deployed to ensure security for the Maccabiah Games. The stadium at Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, where the opening ceremony was held, was swept repeatedly today for bombs.

Police Cmdr. Yair Yitzhaki said teams at the stadium "include the top security units the police have."

The 13th Maccabiah is the largest ever. Israel has the largest delegation, with 846 athletes, followed by the United States with 502 athletes, including Olympians Ken Flax, a hammer thrower, and Sherri Cassuto, rowing.

The Maccabiah Games, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, are held every four years. The competition will last 11 days.

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