ATHENS – While two Pakistanis facing charges of plotting a terrorist attack in the Greek capital aimed first at Jewish sites and possibly malls, stadiums and city squares were to face a magistrate, police are questioning eight others.
“The investigation to determine if additional persons are involved is ongoing,” a police source not named told Agence France-Presse (AFP) amid media reports that the two arrested were charged based on phone bugging evidence.
The eight Pakistani men were detained for illegal entry into Greece, the official added, the country a prime destination for refugees and migrants the New Democracy government is trying to keep out.
The two taken into custody by police, with help from Israel’s intelligence service the Mossad, were said to be Pakistanis of Iranian origin who were planning attacks on areas frequented by Israelis in central Athens.
The source said the men had targeted a building which houses a Jewish restaurant and a prayer center and police spokeswoman Constantia Dimoglidou told AFP the “mastermind” of the cell is “a Pakistani who lives outside Europe,” the news agency saying it was told he’s in Iran.
Greece’s state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA said the eight men being being questioned were “in close contact” with the two original suspects, who haven’t been named although their photographs were published.
Greece was included on a list of countries with travel warnings issued by Israel’s National Security Council ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover in early April, a period that almost coincides with Greek Easter April 16.
Iran’s embassy in Greece denied any connection to the alleged plot although there have been a number of media reports indicating that Iran is targeting dissidents and journalists in exile in the European Union.