NEWS

Police probe links between ministry bomb and older blasts

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Terrorism

Officers of the counterterrorism department of the Greek Police (ELAS) on Monday were seeking to determine whether the perpetrators of a thwarted bomb attack on the central Athens offices of the Labor Ministry belong to guerrilla groups which have claimed responsibility for recent blasts in the capital.

Bomb disposal experts were examining the remains of the homemade device, which unidentified assailants had planted outside the ministry’s office on central Stadiou Street, after they had destroyed it in three controlled explosions. The bomb squad’s intervention came after an anonymous caller telephoned a leftist newspaper at 1.20 a.m., warning that a bomb was set to go off outside the ministry. No reason was given for the attack though the choice of the Labor Ministry is widely believed to be linked to austerity measures, particularly fresh cuts to pensions, which have been demanded by Greece’s international creditors.

According to a high-ranking ELAS officer, the device had been placed in a 5-kilogram plastic bucket and comprised a mix of ammonium nitrate and gelatin dynamite rigged to a timer and detonators. The bomb, which had been set to detonate at 2 a.m., failed to go off as it had been rigged wrongly, the officer told Kathimerini.

Sources indicated that police are examining similarities between Monday's thwarted blast and a bomb that went off in November 2015 at the central Athens offices of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), as well as another attack last October on the home of appeals court prosecutor Georgia Tsatani. The SEV blast was claimed by the Group of Popular Fighters guerrilla organization while the hit on Tsatani’s home was the work of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, according to an online proclamation by the group’s jailed members which warned of more attacks to come.

In recent days, police have boosted security at public buildings in the capital amid fears of fresh terrorist attacks.

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