Foreign Policy Blogs

Left-wing terror suspects held in Greece

In Greece, police on Sunday, arrested and charged six people of having connections with a terrorist group after confiscating guns and explosives at various locations across the country.

Newspaper reports suggest that the suspects range in age from 21-30. The group also includes one woman member. They were detained following police raids in Athens, the port of Piraeus, the western town of Agrinio and the southern Mediterranean island of Crete Saturday.

It has been reported that all the six suspects were formally charged with three felonies, including participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and possession of explosive materials. The police will present the accused before an examining magistrate within a day or two.

Among those arrested, two members were wanted by the police in connection with a left-wing terrorist group, Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, that was allegedly behind a series of parcel bombs sent to European leaders and embassies last month. Greece has a long history with domestic terrorism, which has left more than 40 people dead in the last three decades, including a British military attache, a CIA station chief, police officers, journalists and businessmen.

Interesting this blog covered an analytical article on the Terrorism Risk Index of various countries in with Greece has been ranked 24 on the list. It was reported that Greece faces a major challenge from left-wing terrorist groups. These groups have been the cause of the increased risk profile of the country. Between June 2009 and June 2010, Greece experienced about 180 attacks – more than took place in Yemen which is a country in the high risk zone. However it has been noted that attacks carried out by the left-wing groups tend to be non-fatal, but they can be highly disruptive in nature.

Police said that the first two suspects were arrested after officials discovered three submachine guns, seven handguns, grenades, 50 kg of explosive powder and 200 grams of TNT in a basement garage in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni. Anti-terrorist police then made further arrests in the Athens suburb of Kalithea, the central Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia, the central Greek town of Agrinio and on the island of Crete. Media reports quoted the police chief as saying that the arrests of the suspects was carried out based on the surveillance undertaken and after evidence showed they were planning a terrorist attack.

The Police believe that the terror suspects belong to a group which is known as the “Sect of Revolutionaries”. The Sect of Revolutionaries first emerged after the rioting over the death of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, killed by a police bullet in December 2008. Officials had initially said the weapons found were similar to the kind used by left-wing guerrilla group Sect of Revolutionaries, which claimed responsibility for the slaying of Sokratis Giolas, an investigative journalist and an anti-terrorist police officer. Giolas had been shot dead in front of his pregnant wife July 19 outside their Athens home.

The group has vowed to increase attacks on police, business people, prison guards and corrupt media, in addition to tourists.