NEWS

Group claims bombs

The western arch of the giant roof for the main Olympic stadium slid into its final position yesterday, marking a significant milestone in the countdown to the Games that will begin on August 13. The eastern arch is due to begin sliding into position along the 64-meter specially built track before the end of the month. But there was bad news too, as the extreme leftist militants who had set off three bombs outside the Kallithea police station on May 5 declared in a statement to a newspaper that the Olympic Games were a «war» and that visitors to the Games were «not welcome.» Although the government has played down the significance of the attacks as small-scale symbolic bombings that have remained as a relic of the resistance to a military dictatorship that ended 30 years ago, the May 5 attacks were a serious embarrassment as they received prominent coverage internationally. Revolutionary Struggle – a group that first appeared last September but is suspected of comprising at least some members of older, defunct groups – claimed responsibility for the Kallithea attack in a statement to the Pontiki political, satirical weekly. The letter was found in a garbage bin after an anonymous call to the paper. While the group did not say it would target the Olympics, it declared: «Regarding the Olympic Games, we declare that Greece’s transformation into a fortress, NATO’s involvement, the presence and activity of foreign secret services, prove in the clearest way that this is not a festival – as organizers like to proclaim – but a war. And we declare, also, that all agents of international capital (multinationals, businessmen), the global mercenary killers, the state officials and the wealthy western Olympic tourists who aim to attend the games are undesirable.» The group claimed to have hit the police station (causing slight damage and no injuries) to show «how vulnerable the state’s armed gangs are and how the ‘total security dogma’ is meaningless.» Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the government was «not worried» and that «a plan has been drafted that guarantees the security of the Olympic Games.» Separately, a homemade incendiary device was found at a branch of British-based HSBC shortly after small gas canisters exploded at a nearby Alpha Bank branch in Voula. No one was hurt. Greece has planned a massive security operation involving some 70,000 personnel, foreign advisers and a budget of over 1 billion euros. Yesterday, the consortium providing the electronic equipment for the security system said that it will be in place on May 28.