Police suspect urban guerrillas behind murder of Golden Dawn members
The possibility that two Golden Dawn members shot dead outside party offices in northern Athens on Friday were killed by members urban guerrillas is being treated by the police as the most likely explanation for the attack.
The raid left two men, 22-year-old Manolis Kapelonis and 26-year-old Giorgos Fountoulis, dead and a third, 29-year-old Alexandros Gerontas, fighting for his life. Gerontas was hit by a bullet and underwent a splenectomy on Friday night. He was then transferred to an intensive-care unit, where his condition was described as critical.
The three men were shot outside Golden Dawn’s offices in Neo Iraklio. Police said that two men wearing crash helmets were involved in the attack, although it is possible that there were accomplices at the scene. The two men got off a motorbike they parked across the street from the neo-Nazi party’s offices, walked up to the victims and one of the pair opened fire. Twelve bullet casings were recovered from the scene. It is believed that the assailants used a Zastava semi-automatic revolver.
Kapelonis and Fountoulis were struck in the chest and head, suggesting that the gunman intended to kill. Police sources said that the only terrorist group that had committed these kinds of murders in Greece recently was the Sect of Revolutionaries, which claimed responsibility for killing policeman Nektarios Savvas in June 2009 and journalist Sokratis Giolias in July 2010.
The group has not made an appearance since then but officers note that a proclamation signed by the imprisoned members of another urban guerrilla group, Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, last month called for the formation of a “united front” with other terrorist organizations, including the Sect of Revolutionaries.
Police are also investigating if the shooting could be connected to Nikos Maziotis, a member of another group, Revolutionary Struggle, who is currently on the run from authorities. Last month, police linked Maziotis to an armed bank robbery. The fugitive issued a statement via the Indymedia website denying he was involved.
Officers recovered a motorcycle some 2 kilometers from the shooting and are conducting tests to find out if it was the one used by the attackers. Golden Dawn also said it had provided authorities with a copy of footage from its CCTV cameras, which allegedly captured the attack.
Golden Dawn MP Eleni Zaroulia, the wife of leader Nikos Michaloliakos who was remanded in custody last month on suspicion of heading a criminal organization, blamed Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias for the murders. Zaroulia and two more of the extremist party’s lawmakers handed in their gun licenses and weapons at Pefki police precinct in northern Athens. They said they received a request a few days earlier from the Public Order Ministry to do so.