Police investigating an armed attack on police guarding the headquarters of PASOK in central Athens early on Tuesday morning, which injured an officer, believe the Revolutionary Self-Defense urban guerrilla group, which struck the same offices in 2014 and has also hit foreign embassies in Athens, is probably behind the assault.
There had been no claim of responsibility for the attack by late on Tuesday night.
However, according to sources, police believe the group which claimed responsibility for an armed attack on PASOK’s offices in June 2014, on the eve of European Parliament elections, will likely also claim Tuesday’s hit.
In both cases, the perpetrator used an assault rifle.
The group has also claimed another two recent attacks – one, using a Kalashnikov, on the building housing the Mexican Embassy last July, and a hand grenade launched against the French Embassy last November.
Tuesday's assault occurred shortly after 6 a.m. The perpetrator fired at a police bus parked outside PASOK’s offices on the corner of Harilaou Trikoupi and Arachovis streets.
Two of the bullets penetrated the windshield of the vehicle and a third pierced a helmet that was hanging on a hook inside the van.
A fourth shot was fired at the policeman in the guard post outside the office and though it did not hit him, the officer was injured by fragments of the bullet that sprayed into his stomach and thigh. He was admitted to a military hospital where doctors said his condition was stable.
The closed-circuit television cameras outside PASOK’s offices did not capture the movements of the perpetrators but the cameras on a neighboring store did.
According to police sources, the video shows the perpetrator standing next to a lamp post and opening fire with a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle which had been hanging on a strap around his neck.
The assailant, who was tall and wore a mask, then fled on foot.
Police ballistics experts were examining bullet casings collected from the scene of the attack yesterday for more leads to the perpetrators.
Authorities believe it is very likely that the attack was carried out as an act of revenge following last week’s arrest of Panagiota Roupa, a leading member of the Revolutionary Struggle guerrilla group.
It remains unclear whether there is thought to be any link between the groups.
According to sources, police had feared a reaction by anarchist groups in the wake of Roupa’s arrest but not necessarily a terrorist hit.
A police circular had been issued to officers guarding political and business offices to be extra vigilant for possible attacks by anarchists following Roupa’s arrest.
Police officials would on Tuesday not confirm reports that notes found in Roupa’s hideout included New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and former prime minister Antonis Samaras as potential targets. However Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas spoke to Mitsotakis by telephone.
Mitsotakis, for his part, blamed the government for an upsurge in guerrilla activity, claiming that it has not adequately condemned or fought the activities of anarchists.