Greek police foil far-left militant bomb plot

AP News
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Posted: Oct 02, 2014 3:14 PM
Greek police foil far-left militant bomb plot

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police said Thursday they foiled a planned weekend bomb attack by a far-left militant group against the headquarters of the country's ruling center-right New Democracy party, on the day it plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias said plans for Saturday's attack were found in a police raid in Athens, where a suspect was arrested and held on terror-related charges.

"This was a strike that was aimed at weakening the country's institutions and our economy, at a time when we are struggling to emerge from (financial) crisis," Kikilias said Thursday.

He said police also found records of others believed to be on a list of potential targets, including ship owners, the chairman of Greece's industry federation and the chairman of the country's largest soccer club, Olympiakos.

"We found details of their homes, their workplace and their movements," Kikilias said.

The suspect was identified as a Greek man who was refusing to cooperate with police inquiries, but no further details were given.

New Democracy leads the country's coalition government, which has imposed tough austerity measures in exchange for international bailout loans. Senior party officials are due to gather at a nearby central Athens location Saturday for anniversary celebrations.

The police raid was ordered in connection with the arrest in July of fugitive militant Nikos Maziotis following a daytime central Athens shootout, Police Chief Dimitris Tsakanakis said.

Maziotis, who was injured in the shooting, had been convicted in absentia last year and sentenced to 25 years for participation in Revolutionary Struggle, a group active between 2003 and 2009 and best known for firing a rocket-propelled grenade into the U.S. Embassy, in an attack that caused no injuries.

Greece has battled militant violence from anarchist and far-left groups for decades. In separate raids this week in Athens and Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city, police arrested six suspects after finding weapons and ammunition.

Also Thursday, police destroyed a suspicious parcel sent to the Athens Stock Exchange that was stopped at the mailroom and didn't disrupt trading.

Police said the parcel sent to the stock exchange contained gunpowder and batteries, but it was unclear whether it was fully rigged to explode. A police statement says the anti-terrorism squad is investigating Thursday's incident.

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Associated Press writer Nicholas Paphitis contributed to this report.

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