Arsonists Hit Simitis’ Summer Home

An arson fire at the summer home of former PASOK Socialist leader and Prime Minister Costas Simitis is being investigated by Greece’s anti-terrorism unit to see if there any links to groups which target politicians, journalists, bankers and business executives.

Authorities said they found the remains of an incendiary device at the vacation home in Agio Theodoroi. It was reported that the device was placed in a metal box and that the wiring was similar to the one that was found in the Egaleo metro station last year that didn’t detonate.

The Anti-Terrorist Unit men found batteries, wires and a switch. The device had been placed in front of one of the house’s balcony doors.

The suspects triggered the mechanism, leading to a fire that heavily damaged the house. Simitis, under whose tenure Greece came into the Eurozone and the euro, setting off giant price spikes, has been targeted before, both at his office and home in Athens where protesters denounced him.

His summer home was not being guarded and the Fire Department of Peloponnese said it was notified at 2:34 a.m. on Dec. 13 and got the fire under control a few hours later.

Simitis, now 77, was prime minister between 1996 and 2004, heading governments of the Socialist PASOK party that saw the country join the euro and experience successive years of high growth.

On Dec. 8, he made a rare public appearance in central Athens to endorse an initiative aimed at forming alliances among center-left parties, after support for PASOK was decimated by harsh bailout policies.

In a separate incident late Dec. 13, police said a group of about 40 youths attacked a police station, hurling firebombs that burned several cars in an area of central Athens where violence by anarchist groups is common.