Monday, December 06, 2010

Six arrests in Greece over guns, explosives: police

Dec. 6, 2010 AFP

Police in Greece have arrested six people -- two of them suspected radical
anarchists -- after finding a large haul of guns and explosives in various
hideouts, officials said Sunday.

The suspects, who are aged 21 to 30 and include a woman, were caught after
police raids on Saturday in the capital, the port of Piraeus, the western
town of Agrinio and the island of Crete, police chief Lefteris Oikonomou

Two of the suspects were already wanted by police in connection with a
radical anarchist group, Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, that was behind a
parcel bomb campaign against European leaders and embassies uncovered last

"The investigation is ongoing. We are still in the first phase," Oikonomou
told a news briefing.

The police had earlier indicated that nine people had been arrested.

The operation began on Saturday in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni where
officers caught two of the suspects, who were armed, outside a garage and
subsequently found arms and explosives inside, the police said.

Anti-terrorist police also fanned out across the capital and other Greek
cities, locating more guns in alleged hideouts and making more arrests.

In addition to Nea Smyrni, suspects were caught in the Athens suburb of
Kallithea and the central district of Exarchia, an area with a strong
anarchist affiliation.

Arrests were also made in the city of Piraeus and the port of Sitia on the
island of Crete, while police also found guns and a stolen car in the
western town of Agrinio.

Oikonomou said police had so far confiscated four Kalashnikov assault
rifles, three submachine guns, eight handguns, four grenades, two
bullet-proof vests, 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) of industrial-grade
ammonium nitrate explosives and 200 grammes of TNT.

They also found stolen car license plates, wigs and full face hoods.

Police had initially indicated that the case was likely linked to another
far-left group, Revolutionary Sect, that has killed two people and which
recently boasted of possessing a large arsenal.

But early ballistic tests on the weapons have found no prior match to
extremist activity, Oikonomou said.

Revolutionary Sect in July sent a Greek newspaper a photo of its purported
weaponry, among them three Kalashnikov assault rifles, a semi-automatic
handgun and a dozen pistols.

The police have failed to crack Revolutionary Sect, which surfaced in 2009
and earlier this year claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a
37-year-old journalist outside his home.

A year ago the outfit had also shot dead an anti-terror officer guarding a
witness in a left-wing militants' trial, and had machine-gunned a police
station and the headquarters of a private television channel in Athens.

Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei was so far known for arson and bomb attacks on
government buildings and the offices and homes of Greek politicians.

But last month, the group posted more than a dozen parcel bombs to
European leaders and embassies in a campaign that caused alarm but no
major injuries.

Greece briefly halted mail and parcel dispatches abroad after one of the
parcels, addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made its way to the
chancellery office in Berlin.

Another package, intended for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,
was found inside a courier plane at Bologna Airport.

Domestic extremism in Greece, the legacy of a brutal military dictatorship
and mainly associated with the far-left and radical anarchists, has left
some 30 people dead in the past three decades including a CIA station
chief, a British military attache, police officers, journalists and

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