NEWS

Attempted bomb attack fuels fear of new terror group

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

A police forensics officer collects evidence from the scene of a botched bomb attack in the Athens neighborhood of Vyronas Tuesday morning. The device was deactivated before being sent to police forensic laboratories for examination.

TAGS: Terrorism

Almost a year after the country’s last domestic terrorist strike, the Greek Police’s counterterrorism unit was Tuesday investigating an attempted bomb attack against a prosecutor in the Athens neighborhood of Vyronas.

Although the would-be bombers used tactics reminiscent of established groups, police believe they are more likely to belong to a new generation of terrorists. This is partly because they used gunpowder, of the type used in firecrackers, rather than the more powerful explosives usually used by other groups.

The bomb comprised a kilogram of gunpowder inside a saucepan and had been concealed inside the top box of a motorcycle that was parked outside the Vyronas home of Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos.

Police and a bomb disposal unit rushed to the scene after an anonymous caller telephoned the Zougla news website and Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper at around 4 a.m. Tuesday, warning that a bomb had been placed at the Vyronas address and would go off in 20 minutes.

As police did not have time to cordon off the area they used loudspeakers to tell residents to remain in their homes.
Police believe the bomb’s failure to detonate may have been due to a problem with the detonation circuit, which most likely occurred during its transportation on the motorcycle.

Both the device and the motorcycle, which is believed to have been stolen from the area a few days earlier, were sent to a police forensics lab for analysis.

Investigators are looking into older cases handled by Dogiakos, who is among Greece’s most prominent judicial officials, for clues to the motives of the foiled attack.

Dogiakos has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including the prosecution of the far-right Golden Dawn party and the breakup of a major trial-fixing racket.

According to sources, Tuesday’s botched attack is reminiscent of previous hits by Group of Popular Fighters, which has claimed a string of attacks, most recently last December on the Athens Appeals Court. However, the group generally uses stronger explosives and different methodology.

There are also parallels with other groups such Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, which also placed some of its bombs in saucepans. However, experts believe it unlikely that the group is behind Tuesday’s attempted hit as several of its jailed members are currently seeking early release or furloughs and would therefore be unlikely to undermine their appeals. It appears more likely that the bomb was the work of amateurs experimenting with techniques of established groups, according to sources who said a claim of responsibility, if one is released, will shed more light on the case.

Comments by Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou about the would-be attackers fueled controversy Tuesday.

While describing them as “people who move in the dark” and have no “democratic culture,” she said, “The only point on which we agree with those people, who have brute violence as their guide and god, is that the world can and should change on many levels.”
 

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