Qatar World Cup: Pakistani firemen killed during training exercise

Authorities did not release details of the accident but said it was not part of a large drill under way in Doha

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Three Pakistani firefighters were killed late on Wednesday in a training accident in the Qatari capital just weeks before about a million fans start arriving for the Fifa World Cup.

The three men were not taking part in the multinational World Cup security exercise “Watan 2022" that is taking place in Doha to prepare emergency services for all manner of threats, including chemical attacks and large-scale demonstrations.

There were few details released about the nature of the training accident, but AFP cited witnesses as saying they were killed after a crane collapsed in Doha’s Hamad port.

The news agency said that photographs accompanying the posts showed the damaged crane.

Fifteen foreign governments, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Palestinian territories, have sent security forces and experts for the Watan exercise that ends on Thursday.

Turkey has sent about 3,000 police to reinforce Qatar's domestic force during the World Cup that starts on November 20 and ends on December 18. Morocco and Pakistan will also reportedly send police reinforcements.

Spain, however, declined to send 115 riot police.

Some diplomats have questioned whether the foreign police have had proper training to handle the one million fans predicted to visit Qatar for the event.

Qatar's Safety and Security Operations Committee said the exercises had shown “the capabilities, readiness, and determination of the military forces and civil authorities to deal with all scenarios”.

Gen Michael Kurilla, head of the US Central Command that manages US forces across the Middle East, was in Qatar for the start of the exercises.

“Kurilla expressed confidence in Qatar's ability to ensure a safe and secure World Cup next month,” said a Central Command statement.

Updated: October 27, 2022, 1:18 PM