NEWS

Terror alert heightened

The double terrorist bombing in Istanbul on Saturday set off a major mobilization by Greece’s National Intelligence Agency (EYP), in what Public Order Ministry sources said is part of the heightened alert ahead of next year’s Olympics. Through international cooperation, EYP has been gathering intelligence with regard to any terrorist act that could affect Greece. Muslim and immigrant groups are being probed for any extremists who could serve as go-betweens for international Islamic terrorism, sources say. Nothing disturbing has been noted, senior security officials say. About a month ago, Greek and Turkish security services were warned by US sources that a large amount of explosives had left Iraq through the country’s western border and was most probably intended for a major terrorist attack in the West, a senior Greek source said. Despite the intensive efforts by both countries’ authorities, nothing was found, the source said. It was not clear whether the explosives involved in Saturday’s attacks, which killed 24 people, were those referred to in the warning. After the bombings, it was learned that Istanbul’s Jews had been increasingly threatened by illegal radical Islamic groups since the summer. On Sept. 23, the Turkish police moved to increase security against «Israel-related terror,» Kathimerini English Edition’s correspondent in Ankara, Burak Bekdil, reports today. Greece’s Jews on Saturday urged the government to increase security around synagogues and other likely targets. Although synagogues are already under police protection, police stepped up security for people and buildings that could be targeted, including the Israeli Embassy, officials and businessmen. Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, in Brussels yesterday, said Greece was in contact with other countries with regard to what they could provide to help hold secure Games. «Our position is that we should have a full list of all the means from all countries for dealing with any possible likelihood. Because terrorism is unpredictable and we are obliged, as a responsible government, to take all possible measures,» Papantoniou told reporters, «Greece cannot develop all the capabilities that may be needed. That is why we are cooperating in this on an equal basis of solidarity with other European countries and third countries, so that the Olympic Games can be as safe as possible.»