Security and emergency services put their training in use on Thursday during an anti-terrorist exercise ‘DEIMOS 2017’ at the Mall of Cyprus in Nicosia.
The exercise was used to evaluate security and emergency services response to the asymmetrical threat of a blind terrorist attack directed at unsuspecting members of the public.
The police’s Rapid Reaction Unit MMAD coordinated the drill and was backed by both the ministries of defence and health.
During the operation in which a number of police units, ambulance and fire services as well as the civil defence took part, three command centres were operational; one at MMAD headquarters, one at the scene of the operation and a third at police headquarters.
Thursdays exercise included an attack with explosives and gunfire by three terrorists resulting in the death of six people and the injury of a further ten. The terrorists then took ten hostages while taking refuge in a shop in the Mall.
The resulting response from the emergency services and police units, including hostage negotiators did not produce the desired results. MMAD members were then sent in resulting in the safe extraction of the hostages, the capture of two terrorists and the death of the third terrorist.
Chief of Police Zacharias Chrysostomou said that the Cyrus police just like their counterparts across Europe were called to respond to the challenges of a ‘complicated world’.
“For the time being at least, there are no factors to support that our country is under serious terrorist threat,” said Chrysostomou.
“The Cyprus police takes part in exercises and training programmes, most of which are not publicised in order to be operationally ready in the event of a crisis,” added Chrysostomou adding the DEIMOS 2017 falls within the framework of preparedness.
“We have an obligation to be operationally ready and to take whatever preventative measures are necessary,” said Chrysostomou referring to the geopolitical situation in the general area and the terrorist attacks witnessed at the heart of Europe these last three years.
Chrysostomou concluded by saying that the cooperation between the police and National Guard in patrolling the airports and ports would continue pending the relevant cabinet decision.