Police draw parallels in Mall hit to botched metro bombing

Police investigating a bomb that exploded on Sunday inside The Mall in Maroussi, north of Athens, injuring two people, have found similarities between the remnants of the device collected from the shopping center and a bomb used in a botched attack on an Athens metro train last February, Kathimerini understands.

According to police sources, the composition of the two bombs and the methodology behind the two attacks were very similar. There had been no claim of responsibility for the Mall blast by late on Monday. A group calling itself the February 12 Movement claimed responsibility for planting an incendiary device on the seat of a train at Aegaleo metro station, west of Athens, in February last year. That device, which did not go off, comprised batteries, switches, a light bulb and 4 liters of flammable liquid. The bomb that went off at The Mall was said to be virtually identical except that instead of flammable liquid, the assailants had used 1.5 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (known as ANFO) and gelignite. Also found in the wreckage at The Mall were remnants of a pressure cooker, prompting police to probe possible connections with the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, a guerrilla group that used such utensils in some of its bomb attacks.

A 29-year-old man believed to be a member of that group was released pending trial last week, prompting government officials to slam the judiciary for its handling of such cases.

Police believe that there are links between the February 12 Movement and Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

But officers have not indicated that there is any connection between the attack at The Mall and last year’s attempted metro bombing. There are said to be indications, however, that the groups behind these attacks might have been guided by a common “command center” as is believed to have been the case with attacks carried out in 2010 and 2011 and claimed by Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire or Revolutionary Struggle.

As regards the Mall bombing, police sources have indicated that closed-circuit television footage suggests that at least four people, including one woman, were involved in planting the device. CCTV footage reportedly shows a man wearing a woolen hat planting a package in a garbage can on the first floor of the complex.

Police are also still investigating an armed attack on the offices of conservative New Democracy on January 14 by assailants wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a revolver. It appears that initial reports according to which one of the two assailants spotted at the scene had been carrying a rocket launcher were accurate.

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