Police not informed about Coast Guard’s drug raid in Exarchia, says minister

Police not informed about Coast Guard’s drug raid in Exarchia, says minister

The Hellenic Police (ELAS) was not aware of the anti-drug operation conducted by the Coast Guard in the central Athenian district of Exarchia on Thursday night, where two officers were injured in an ambush by masked men, Citizens' Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili said on Friday.

“ELAS didn’t go there, it was not informed,” she reportedly told radio station News247.

“We all know there are problems in Exarchia. The problems of crime and delinquency can not be solved by pressing a magic button,” she said.

“But these issues should not be used to score political points whenever somebody decides to play the security card.”

Coast Guard officials were attacked by around 50 black-clad men, armed with clubs, knives and even AK 47 assault rifles after completing a drug-related raid in a house in Exarchia.

One officer was injured on the thigh with a knife and another was kicked and punched. They were both transferred to the Athens’s Navy Hospital where they remain for treatment.

Commenting on the operation, the Panhellenic Federation of Coast Guard Personnel Associations, described the raid as “a common case” which almost turned into a “battle.”

“An otherwise common case of detecting and arresting alleged drug traffickers almost evolved into an urban battle, with unpredictable consequences and dimensions,” the federation said, adding the operation lasted less than 10 minutes.

The union said it was pleased by the presence of mind their colleagues had during the attack and the security and self-protection measures they took to complete their mission.

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