ATHENS – A terrorist group's cache of weapons and ammunition discovered by police during a raid on one of the member's home included powerful explosives, five AK-47 assault rifles, a submachine gun, two pistols, detonators, dynamite, TNT and grenades.
Authorities presented the arsenal they said could wreaked havoc and devastation if used. "Fortunately, our intervention was timely … what is frightening, is the amount of explosives they possessed," Lefteris Hardalias, leader of the police's Counter-Terrorism Agency said, reported Kathimerini.
“These weapons kill. Two were used and didn’t kill anyone, fortunately, but they injured policemen. They didn’t hesitate to use a handgrenade at the French embassy, and we could have had a lot more victims. But what truly frightens us is the amount and power of explosives they possesses. Fortunately we found them on time,” he said.
Officers arrested two men and a woman allegedly implicated in terrorism activities and detained another 15 people after raiding 13 houses with Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis moving swiftly to keep his promise to crack down on violence and anarchist and terror groups that critics said were tolerated by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which had elements sympathetic to them.
Two of the suspects – nobody was named in keeping with Greek privacy laws that protect the identities even of alleged terrorists – men aged 41 and 43, were tied to a robbery at a betting shop in the Athens suburb of Holargos in October.
The 41-year-old spent almost eight years in prison for his alleged role in Revolutionary Struggle but was released in 2018 under legislation passed by SYRIZA aimed at benefiting hard-core criminals, anarchists and terrorists and now reportedly is right back at it again.
The third suspect, a 39-year-old woman, was detained for violating firearms laws. She is believed to be the partner of another suspect, a 46-year-old anarchist, who remains at large but who wasn't named either.
Mitsotakis lauded the police as he reiterated his pledge to “finish with the problem of domestic Greek terrorism once and for all,” which no one has been able to accomplish given that there are dozens of splinter groups believed still existing if not operating.
Ballistics tests confirmed that one of the guns was used in attacks against the offices of the now-defunct PASOK Socialists by Revolutionary Self-Defense in 2014 and 2017.
The same Kalashnikov was used in an attack on the Mexican Embassy in Athens in 2016. The group claimed responsibility for a hand grenade attack on the French Embassy in November of the same year which hurt a police officer, the paper said.
Mitsotakis said in an interview with SKAI TV that he's not relenting until the war against the terrorists if finished and said that the raids went after “a very dangerous operational branch of neo-terrorism in Greece” that was taken apart.
He said the case was air-tight and congratulated the Counterterrorism Service for its work and stressed that “slowly but surely, security and order is being restored in Greece.”
He said that 1,500 new police staff were completing their studies shortly and that the former Delta motorcycle unit of the police, for immediate response to serious incidents, would be reintroduced. “Greek citizens will feel safe again and this is a commitment,” he said.
In a related development, he noted an investigation of the premises of the Athens Economics University by police and that he would insure that the colleges won't be taken over by criminals but given back to students “and end be put to hideouts, destructive rioters and firebomb-making labs.”
He said that sweeps related to security would continue to be held throughout Greece. “This policy is not related to party affiliations – right, left or center. The public’s protection is an obligation of the state,” he said.
Police also found CS gas fillers, 17 detonators (nine of them remote-controlled), and various explosives including gelatin. They also found a 40-kilo package (88.18 pounds) of ammonium nitrate and night vision binoculars.