The Greek Police will in the coming weeks be conducting a training exercise in the center of Athens to test the emergency response to terrorists, Kathimerini has learned.
The drill, dubbed “Tyfonas II” (Greek for typhoon), will take place either in Syntagma Square, in front of the Greek Parliament building, or in nearby Monastiraki Square – two of the busiest districts in downtown Athens.
A Citizens’ Protection Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the newspaper that the initial plan was to stage the mock attack around mid-September.
However, the official said, authorities decided to postpone the exercise until next month, as “given the large number of tourists currently at the heart of the capital, an anti-terror drill would raise concern among visitors, even if we chose to conduct it during off-peak hours, like early at dawn.”
Last month, Tyfonas I was held on the grounds of the Security Research Center (KEMEA), which belongs to the Public Order Ministry.
The exercise, involving officers of Greece’s elite special forces team (EKAM) and riot police units (MAT), played out six different scenarios based on recent attacks by jihadi militants on European territory.
The scenarios were said to include a van attack on pedestrians, gunmen opening fire against crowds and a bomb explosion in a busy area.
Sixteen people were killed and 120 injured when Islamist extremists struck on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas boulevard and in the seaside resort of Cambrils earlier this month.
The source told Kathimerini that Tyfonas II had been planned before the terror attacks in Spain.
In recent comments, Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas said that there was no indication that Greece could become the target of a terrorist attack like those which have struck other European nations in recent years.
However, he added that nobody could rule out the possibility of a lone wolf attack. Terrorism can only be defeated by securing peace in the Middle East, the leftist minister said.