No Missiles on Our Roofs Please, We’re British

East Londoners are balking at a 2012 Olympics security measure they say will make them a possible target of terrorism.

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Reuters / Chris Helgren

Britain's military has told residents of this complex, the Bow Quarter, near the Olympic Park in East London, that it is installing a missile battery on top of a tower within their housing complex to defend the 2012 Games this summer.

Residents of East London are worrying that they will be made terrorist targets  after receiving letters from the Ministry of Defense announcing that high-velocity missiles (HVMs) may be attached to their roofs as a security measure during this summer’s Olympic Games.

Residents of the Bow Quarter – a complex of around 700 apartments near the Olympic Park – is the first of several other nearby areas that will be fitted with rooftop missiles as part of a strategy to prevent an airborne terrorist attack during the Games.

(MORE: Olympics: Missiles on Residents’ Rooftops?)

These missiles can accelerate to three times faster than the speed of sound within 1,300 feet after launch and have a range of more than 3 miles. They’re part of the British government’s £1 billion ($1.6 billion) security plan to protect the Olympic Games this summer from potential attacks. They will be tested in a six-day trial starting on Wednesday.

One resident of the complex told the Guardian: “It’s rather surreal … It is an example of the insane world we live in post-9/11. I don’t think anyone here feels more secure because of this … The question is, will this make us a target?”

Daily Telegraph journalist Neil Midgley, who lives in the complex, described his surprise at the juxtaposition: “It came as something of a shock, given that the Bow Quarter is a leafy — some would say sleepy — gated enclave. The people who normally dwell in our 700-odd flats are Canary Wharf bankers, creative types and young families.”

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