Police examining Popular Fighters Group’s origins

The police believe that the Popular Fighters Group which was most likely behind the armed attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens on Friday is made up of anti-establishment figures who have been involved in armed robberies and gun running or is formed by a network of anarchists brought together by Nikos Maziotios, a convicted terrorist currently serving a 50-year prison sentence.

Police sources told Kathimerini that, according to the first theory, a car laden with weapons which was found in an underground parking garage in Exarchia, central Athens, about 18 months ago may have been linked to the group. The owner of the car has since disappeared and he is high on the police’s list of people suspected of being involved in the Popular Fighters Group.

Maziotis has denied any involvement with this urban guerrilla group but police believe that before he was arrested in the summer he may have played a part in bringing together anarchists who were not known to the police to carry out attacks. Police point to the fact that they had no prior knowledge of Antonis Stamboulos, the anarchist who was arrested in Athens in October while opening a garage that contained items allegedly used by Revolutionary Struggle, the group led by Maziotis.

The Popular Fighters Group has claimed 2013 attacks on the New Democracy headquarters and the German ambassador’s residence. Forensic tests show that the shots fired at the Israeli Embassy came from the same AK-47s as the attack on the German diplomat’s home, said police.

Officers also gave more details about Friday’s attack, confirming that four people had taken part but that they had arrived at the scene in a stolen van rather than a car. A total of 56 shots were fired at the embassy. Some witnesses claim to have seen a woman driving the van.