NEWS

Police fail to avert Rouvikonas attack on Embassy of Iran

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Crime, Society

The Greek Police (ELAS) had the Iranian Embassy in Athens at the top of the list of targets that it believed anarchist group Rouvikonas (Rubicon) might take aim at, yet it failed to avert an attack on the embassy by members of the group early on Monday morning, Kathimerini has learned.

According to information obtained exclusively by Kathimerini, analysts at Athens Police Headquarters (GADA) had been repeatedly emphasizing the risk of an attack on the Iranian Embassy in the capital’s affluent suburb of Psychico since early September, and especially after the execution of three Kurdish prisoners in Iran on September 8.

However, the reaction to the predawn attack by the police officer on guard duty outside the embassy proved to be an embarrassment for ELAS.

A video of the incident posted online showed the armed guard stepping out of his booth on the instructions of a man wearing a crash helmet and apparently holding a sledgehammer.

The man in the helmet then proceeds to smash the booth’s windows as other members of the group throw paint on the embassy’s facade.

In the video, the guard, who is armed with an automatic weapon, can be seen standing by while around 10 people in crash helmets vandalize the booth and the front of the building.

The guard, who was wearing a T-shirt and only the bottom half of his uniform during the attack, has been put under investigation for his response to the incident.

The internal investigation will focus on why an emergency warning system had been out of order. Also, according to sources, the guard had not received the special training generally given to officers posted outside diplomatic missions.

It also remains unclear why he did not use his weapon to fire warning shots into the air or use a stun grenade.

Shortly after the raid, the leading member of Rouvikonas, Giorgos Kalaitzidis, claimed responsibility in a post on his Facebook page.

That was followed by an official claim of responsibility on the anti-establishment website Indymedia, which explains that the attack was dedicated to the “revolutionaries” Ramin Hossein, Zaniar Moradi and Panahi Moradi, who were hanged earlier this month by the “theocratic” Iranian regime.

Despite the public claim by Rouvikonas, however, police investigating the incident are having problems identifying the actual perpetrators of the attack on the embassy as they were all wearing crash helmets. Also the assailants had concealed the license plates on the five motorcycles which they used to get to the embassy and to flee.

Rouvikonas has carried out several assaults against state agencies, government buildings and foreign diplomatic missions, including the Israeli, Spanish and French embassies.

Security services in Greece have been in contact with their counterparts in Italy and France, Kathimerini understands, following visits by members of Rouvikonas to those countries and amid suggestions in Facebook posts by Kalaitzidis that the group is planning to conduct coordinated attacks in other European cities.

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