The Italian Almanac

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Italian fighters

Italian News - February 1

Italy will be able to use Swiss air space to make sure the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin are safe from airborne threats, according to an agreement signed here on Tuesday. The agreement authorises Italian fighter planes to cross Italy's border with Switzerland in order to hunt down or head off terrorist planes.

"This is a very important accord, part of a network of mutual support," said Italian Air Force Chief of Staff General Leonardo Tricarico, adding that the agreement will continue after the Games. Swiss Ambassador to Italy Bruno Spinner, who signed the agreement with Tricarico, said: "There are no frontiers where terrorism is concerned."

The air force pointman for Olympic security, General Paolo Magro, told journalists that Italian fighters will be on the highest level of alert on the opening and closing days of the Games. On those days, he said, the only aircraft allowed into Turin air space will be those carrying dignitaries.