Police were Thursday trying to close in on the six or seven people that they suspect were working with Nikos Maziotis, the leader of the Revolutionary Struggle urban guerrilla group, who was arrested following a shootout in central Athens on Wednesday.
Sources said the police believe Maziotis and his alleged accomplices were planning another terrorist strike in Athens within the next 10 to 15 days. Some of those working with the former fugitive are believed to have helped him carry out armed robberies. Ballistic tests revealed, however, that the handgun Maziotis used to fire at police during their chase through the streets around Monastiraki Square had not been used in a previous criminal or terrorist act.
Members of the anti-terrorist squad raided apartments in Exarchia, Voula, Pangrati and other Athens districts in search of clues and people who are believed to have links to Maziotis.
“A police operation is unfolding,” said Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias. “We will be able to say more in the coming days.”
Kikilias also revealed that Maziotis had been spotted at Omonia station by a 25-year-old female member of the anti-terrorist squad, who then called for backup. According to the minister, Maziotis had been sighted using the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) and traveling to central Athens in the days before his arrest.
Police also found a receipt from The Mall in Maroussi, northern Athens, in Maziotis’s possession when he was arrested. It showed that he had bought some clothes from a store at the shopping center around an hour before he was caught in Monastiraki. This strengthens the police’s belief that he was using ISAP to get around. As a result, officers are focusing their efforts to find his hideout close to ISAP stations.
Maziotis remained under armed guard at Evangelismos Hospital Thursday after undergoing surgery on the shoulder injury he suffered after being shot. Doctors said that he may have to be operated on again in the next few days. The 19-year-old Australian tourist who suffered minor injuries to his ankle during Wednesday’s shootout is expected to be discharged Friday so he can continue his holiday.