ATHENS – A small terrorist group called The Popular Fighters Group said it planted a bomb that exploded outside the offices of SKAI and the newspaper Kathimerini that caused damage but no injuries, amid fears of another spike in violence in the capital.
The group said it went after the media outlets to protest what it called their support for austerity policies that punished workers, pensioners and the poors the last 8 ½ years, including under the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition.
The group claimed responsibility for the Dec. 17 attack in a posting on a website that is used by left-wing militant groups to air their views as Greek police have been unable to curb growing lawlessness that critics of SYRIZA said were condoned by the party in a bid to re-establish Leftist credentials after bowing to international lenders to get a third rescue package in the summer of 2015, for 86 billion euros ($98.67 billion).
The Popular Fighters Group has carried out past bombings and gunfire attacks on German-linked targets, an Athens courthouse and the headquarters of Greece’s conservative main opposition party New Democracy while SYRIZA offices were hit by the anarchist group Rouvikonas.
After the blast, sources who weren’t identified told Kathimerini the improvised explosive device (IED) was made with ammonium dynamite, a signature of the group that has, like other terrorist and anarchist groups been periodically hitting targets around the capital.
A security camera on the roof recorded a car that police think was the one used by the attackers against the station that SYRIZA said is biased against the government.
The dark-colored Opel was found burned in the Athens neighborhood of Ano Petralona, as the paper had reported with police reportedly saying it was torched 10-15 minutes after the bomb exploded.
The video shows the car moving briefly on the coastal Ethnarhou Makariou street in the direction of Piraeus, after the assailants had planted the backpack containing around 10 kilograms (22.2 pounds) of explosives near the building before making a U-turn at the traffic light right across the building.
The car had been reported stolen on November 19 from Nea Ionia and had forged license plates. It has been transferred to the police’s forensic laboratories where it will be examined for DNA traces.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)