NEWS

EU targets anarchist terror

Greek police are to join with colleagues from other European Union members in a task force targeting anarchist groups, following a series of incendiary letter attacks on EU officials attributed to an Italian ring with links in Greece and Spain. The task force, which was set up on Monday under Italian leadership, according to an Agence France-Presse report yesterday, will focus on the Italian group suspected of sending booby-trapped letters over the Christmas and New Year season to targets that included Commission President Romano Prodi. No one was hurt. An Athens News Agency report from Rome said experts from Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Greece, Spain and France would participate in the task force. Italian police believe the anarchist group has about 250 members in Italy and has carried out up to 80 minor attacks over the past five years. In Greece, anarchist groups have been blamed for a spate of arson attacks over the past year in which crude gas-canister bombs were used against banks, civil service branches, political party offices and the homes of members of Parliament and journalists. Nobody has been injured so far, though the bombs have caused significant damage. Most of the targets were in Thessaloniki, where yet another gas-canister bomb exploded early on Monday under a van used for cash transfers by a private security firm. It was the second attack this year, after the city’s municipal town planning department was hit on New Year’s Day. On Sept. 8, Spanish anarchists sent a letter bomb – which did not explode – to the Greek Consulate in Madrid, apparently in protest at the detention of seven people suspected of rioting during the June 21 anti-EU demonstrations in Thessaloniki. Five suspects were arrested.