NEWS

Six suspected members of urban guerilla group arrested

Three suspected members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group who had been at large for more than a year were arrested on Monday along with three other suspects following raids on properties in Volos, central Greece, and Athens.

Police said Christos Tsakalos, Giorgos Nikolopoulos and Damiano Bolano were arrested at 3.15 a.m. following a raid on an apartment in the Nea Ionia area of Volos. The three had been wanted by police since October 2009.

Two other suspects, Olga Economidou and Giorgos Polydoras were also taken into custody in Volos.

Police believe both Economidou and Polydoras have played an active role in the organization, which claimed responsibility for a series of bloodless bomb attacks on public buildings and politicians as well as a letter bomb campaign that resulted in one person being slightly injured.

Officers from the police?s counterterrorism squad also raided a property in the northeastern Athens suburb of Holargos, where they arrested 25-year-old Constantinos Papadopoulos and his girlfriend, who was later released. Police believe that the Holargos apartment was where suspected members of the group stayed when they were in Athens.

Late last night, officers were also searching a property in Kallithea, southern Athens, as one of the forged identity cards they had used at the other apartments was used to rent it.

Police believe the suspects may have turned to these properties after a raid in January on another Athens apartment, in the district of Nea Halkidona, shortly after the arrest of another alleged member of the group, Michalis Nikolopoulos.

Police found a total of 11 guns, including three AK-47 assault rifles, at the apartment in Volos. The firearms were all handed to ballistics experts to check whether they had been used in any terrorist or criminal activity. More than 5,000 bullets were also recovered. Officers also seized three computers, police uniforms and bulletproof vests. It is thought that the suspects may have dressed up as policemen so they could place bombs without arousing suspicion or so they could stop citizens and copy the information on their ID cards in order to produce forged ones.

Nine suspected members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire are already on trial.