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Unprecedented Anti-Terrorist Contest Draws East, West, Arabs

June 9, 1988

SCHOENAU, Austria (AP) _ A four-day competition that ended Thursday pitted highly trained squads against each other from the East, the West and the Arab world to determine who was best at thwarting terrorists.

Austria’s Cobra Force won the first three places overall and also triumphed in the team tactical and obstacle contest. The U.S. squads, Delta Force and Seal Team Six, took first and third, respectively, in the combat competition.

Scores were computed on time and accuracy in fulfiling set tasks.

Observers saw an American in combat fatigues shoot out five small balloons, pepper a standing target, blast a line of tin cans, pump bullets into a human silhouette and smash six plates with shots from his hip pistol.

Several miles away, a steel-helmeted Polish police team scaled walls and went through windows in a simulated raid on a terrorist safe house.

Hosts for the competition were the 142 men of the Austria’s Cobra Force, who sponsored the ″anti-terrorist games″ at their base, the 19th-century Schoenau Castle, to mark the squad’s 10th anniversary.

Competition began with a combat contest at a shooting range six miles from Schoenau and a tactical competition to smash a mock terrorist headquarters at a training complex in a forest south of Vienna.

It ended Thursday with a scramble over, across and through natural and man- made obstacles on the Schoenau grounds.

Taking part were 145 entrants in team and individual competition.

Other Western European teams came from France, Italy, Spain and West Germany. From the Arab world were Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Tunisia. The communist world was represented by China, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia.

Col. Kurt Werle, deputy chief of the Cobra Force, said the competition would help improve cooperation among anti-terrorist squads.

″Austria has no home-made terrorism but we have to cooperate with other countries because we are not an island and terrorism can come any time,″ he said. ″We must not give it any chances.″

Among the toughest challenges to the Cobras since the group was formed a decade ago was an attack by Palestinian terrorists at Vienna’s Schwechat airport Dec. 27, 1985, in which three civilians and a terrorist were killed.

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