ATHENS – As the New Democracy government is stepping up the fight against lawlessness, counter-terrorism police said they believe an improvised bomb found near a police station outside the capital was the work of yet another terrorist group.
Police destroyed the device that was found next to the campus of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in Zografou, eastern Athens, believed placed by a group calling itself the Iconoclastic Sect, experimenting with bomb making.
The bomb, which included nails, was hidden in a bag and consisted of explosives packed into a pipe and set to a timing device. It was found just inside the perimeter fence of a university campus by a police officer, who notified explosives experts.
Counter-terrorism authorities said they found the device had significant similarities to the wiring of a bomb planted by the Sect outside the NTUA’s civil engineering department in April 2018, and a bomb put outside an Athens church in December, 2018.
Police sources who weren’t identified told Kathimerini that the new explosive device contained gunpowder such as that used in large firecrackers in a tightly closed metal tube inside a 5-liter plastic container filled with nails. The device had a timer.
Investigators were unable to determine when exactly the perpetrators had planned for the bomb to go off, believing it may have been set for during the night or early morning but it never went off.
The bomb was found at around 9 a.m. by the police precinct chief, who noticed it as he was parking his motorcycle. A bomb disposal unit destroyed the device in a controlled explosion.
The Iconoclastic Sect said it’s behind a group of attacks since last year including the one outside the church that injured a police officer and church employee, complaining that more people weren’t hurt seriously without explaining the motive.
“Although the injuries were not serious and (the two wounded) escaped death by chance – because the explosion was not as strong as we thought – we learnt our lesson for the next time,” the group said at the time before going underground again.
The text was published on a Spanish-language website Eco-Extremist Curse (Maldicion Eco-extremista), and the sect declared itself aligned with an international federation of eco-extremists called Individualists Tending toward the Wild (ITS).
Authorities said there was no warning call and no immediate claim of responsibility. It was not immediately clear who planted the bomb or what the motive might have been or the reason.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)