LEYTONSTONE: Olympic missiles could be fired from block of flats (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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LEYTONSTONE: Olympic missiles could be fired from block of flats
MISSILES could be fired from a Leytonstone block of flats in response to 9/11-style attack during the Olympics.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) wants to place three short-range missile launchers on top of Fred Wigg Tower in Montague Road, Leytonstone, as part of its strategy to deal with any threat from the air this summer.
It is one of six sites around London where missiles are likely to be stored, including at William Girling Reservoir on the Chingford border with Enfield.
The missiles will be guarded by three soldiers and extra police will be deployed in the area.
But there are concerns that storing missiles on residential sites could be a security risk to the public.
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Fahey said he understood the community's anxiety, but added he believed the missiles will increase safety by acting as a deterrent.
Asked whether the location of the missiles meant people in the vicinity were more vulnerable, he said: "There's a risk that could happen.
"But we hope what we're doing is deterring people from even thinking of committing an attack from the air. We are talking about a system of last resort."
But Cherif Bensidhoum, 43, who lives 20 yards down from Fred Wigg tower, fears his family is being put in danger.
He said: "This is a shock to me. Our area will become a target for terrorists. I don't think the police will be a deterrent at all - they could even attract danger.
"I'm worried for my family's safety. My little boy walks to school past the tower, what if something happened then? We are being put in danger."
Neighbour Moussa Ayaune, 39, who lives in the adjacent John Walsh tower block with his wife and three children, criticised the lack of consultation.
He said: "They are risking our safety. We should at least have our say in it.
"It's going to be in a residential place so we're in the middle of the problem if something goes wrong. Not everyone's ready for that but their opinions have not been registered."
Cllr Nicholas Russell, who represents residents in and around Fred Wigg Tower, declined to comment due to the "sensitive nature" of the issue.
Fred Wigg will host the Starstreak missile defence system with a range of three kilometres if the Secretary of State Philip Hammond decides to proceed with the plan after a major military security drill.
It will include Typhoon jets and Sea King helicopters with snipers on-board flying over London sometime between May 2 and May 10.
Lt Col Fahey said the sites had been picked from 100 possible locations and had been chosen for their height and unobstructed view over the Olympic Park.
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