NEWS

Police clear suspects of attack on German ambassador’s home but not of terror plot

Ballistic tests have confirmed that a Kalashnikov assault rifle seized at a raid on a property in Athens on October 1 was not used in the December 30, 2013, assault on the German ambassador’s residence in Halandri, northern Athens.

Counter-terrorism officers seized the weapon during orchestrated raids on two apartments in Athens and one in Thessaloniki on October 1 after receiving a tip-off that the perpetrators of the attack on the German envoy may be hiding there. The source also told officers that the residents of the properties were responsible for a string of armed robberies on banks.

Six people were arrested in the operation and two are currently in pretrial custody facing illegal weapons charges.

They are 30-year-old Panagiotis Michalakoglou, a self-proclaimed anarchist, and a theology scholar identified only by his initials, M.V., who claimed that he had been at Michalakoglou’s house playing video games.

The assault rifle was discovered at a home being rented by Michalakoglou, registered as a resident of Thessaloniki, in central Athens. Ballistic tests have confirmed that it is not, as initially suspected, the same weapon used to fire more than 20 shots at the home of Wolfgang Dolt, the former German ambassador to Greece. The weapon, however, has been identified as having been used in a violent altercation between police and Roma residents of a camp in Menidi, west of Athens, in February 2012.

Police now believe that Michalakoglou purchased the Kalashnikov on the belief that it could not be traced, possibly from an individual from the Roma camp. He had admitted to police that he bought the weapon “from a guy” he met on Academias Street in central Athens, though he refused to give a name.

The raid on Michalakoglou’s home also led to the seizure of a revolver, several rounds of ammunition, a hand grenade and 5,000 euros in cash, leading investigators to believe that the two suspects arrested at the property, along with the other four, were planning a terrorist hit.

The other four suspects have been released on bail.

An organization calling itself Group of Popular Rebels had claimed responsibility for the 2013 attack on the German ambassador’s home.