Greek anti-terror police seize weapons, arrest 6

AP News
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Posted: Mar 14, 2011 10:22 AM
Greek anti-terror police seize weapons, arrest 6

Greek authorities arrested six people _ including three suspected members of a group behind a string of letter bomb attacks _ and seized weapons during raids on two suspected hideouts for domestic terrorists, police said Monday.

Anti-terrorist police conducting raids on apartments in the central city of Volos and the Greek capital confiscated three automatic assault rifles, seven handguns, a revolver, ammunition, police uniforms, wigs, computers, radios, metal clubs and knuckle-dusters.

Seven people were detained for questioning, of whom six _ five men and a woman _ were arrested. Three of those had been named as suspected members of the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of letter bomb attacks, most of them sent to embassies in Athens in November.

Police also recovered notes in the Volos apartment which indicated the group was preparing a bank robbery in the area.

Far-left militant and armed anarchist groups have been active in Greece for decades. But attacks have spiked in the past two years, despite the arrest of more than a dozen suspects, following the fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens in December 2008 that led to widespread riots across the country.

The vast majority of the letter bombs were intercepted before they exploded, and none caused any injuries. One of the packages made it to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office in Berlin while another, addressed to Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, caught fire aboard a courier flight that had landed at Italy's Bologna airport.

Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire claimed responsibility for those attacks, as well as for sending a letter bomb to the Justice Ministry in Athens last month.

Nine suspected members of the group, mostly in their early 20s, went on trial in January over the attacks.

The six arrested Monday face charges of participation in a terrorist organization, supply and possession of explosives and making bombs, and causing explosions.

Police released photos of the three _ Giorgos Nikolopoulos, 25; Bolano Ntamiano, 24; and Christos Tsakalos, 32 _ who had been wanted as suspected Conspiracy members, and called on the public to call hotlines with any information.