NEWS

US joins forces with Greece for major anti-terror exercise

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Defense, Diplomacy

The largest ever anti-terror exercise in Greece will be held in December on the island of Crete, Kathimerini has learned.

Codenamed “Jackal Stone,” the annual exercise of the US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) is organized with the Hellenic Police (ELAS) and will take place amid a growing number of reports of Islamist militants frequenting refugee camps on the Greek islands and the mainland.

Earlier this month, anti-terror units took part in the investigation of a deadly riot between Afghan and Syrian refugees at a camp in Malakasa outside Athens, due to suspicions that several of those involved were linked to Islamist terrorists.

According to sources, a more sinister incident took place at the Skaramangas refugee camp in western Attica in September when a young Iraqi national tried to attack its administrator, a police officer and a security guard with two knives before he was overpowered and arrested. Earlier in the day, he had reportedly flaunted a gun and bullets to other refugees at the camp.

Greek anti-terror units have been closely monitoring refugee camps for suspected Islamist militants, while, since the spring of 2017, the Citizens’ Protection Ministry has deployed foreign nationals at camps in order to collect information on possible terror-related activities.

Greek police have been aided by intelligence officers from Europol in monitoring newly arrived refugees and migrants, while the US Department of Homeland Security has supplied ELAS with a database of some 200,000 suspected terrorists.

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