NEWS

Police fear ‘neo-terrorists’ are preparing for major operation

The counterterrorism squad is very concerned about the likelihood of another more violent and bloody terrorist attack, particularly since no organization has taken responsibility for the recent attack on the Nea Ionia police station, the disarming of the police officer guarding Supreme Court President Romylos Kedikoglou and the murder of special guard Haralambos Amanatidis, acts attributed to the same group of «neo-terrorists.» Police officials fear «preparations for a major, impressive act that will end a cycle.» These fears have been strengthened by the observation that these people have managed to collect a huge arsenal, of which only a very small quantity has so far been used. «They are in possession of particularly powerful weaponry. If their sole purpose was to rob banks, they could have found weapons far more easily. That leads us to the conclusion that they are getting ready for something big,» said a senior police official. Observers of the way terrorist groups have behaved in recent years believe that they have not yet dealt with issues that have been of concern to society, such as the education system. Causes «In practice, terrorist groups find it impossible not to provide their own answers to major social issues. The attacks on the Labor and Economy ministries and on Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, for which Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility, show that. This year there is the education issue and state corruption,» senior police officials told Kathimerini. They add that a fresh terrorist attack could be ignited by the court ruling on appeal of the November 17 terrorist group. «The repercussions have not ended with the ruling,» say the officials. »At various crucial stages of the case, there were terrorist acts.» Police are also concerned about the possibility of a repetition of the Tsoutsouvis case, in May 1985, when police investigating a robbery spotted a stolen motorcycle in the Athens district of Gyzi and signaled to the rider, who turned out to be a terrorist suspect Christos Tsoutsouvis, to stop. He drove off in an exchange of fire with police, three of whom were killed, along with the suspect. EKAM mobilized Meanwhile last Wednesday, the Special Counterterrorism Squad (EKAM) was mobilized to avert fresh attacks on police stations. «Given the tension at the moment, such a scenario is quite likely,» said Attica Security officials. Clear instructions have been given to avert incidents involving special police forces with unforeseen consequences. Counterterrorist police note that the way new terrorist groups operate leads to the conclusion that they want someone dead – and not necessarily a police officer but perhaps one of their own. «That would create greater polarization, allowing them to claim a political victory,» say police. New generation The main scenarios provided for the Nea Ionia police station attack and the seizure of weapons from Glyfada, as well as the murder of special guard Amanatidis is that they were committed by anarchists known to the authorities for their part in bank robberies and for attacks against riot squad police. Yet there is concern that investigations have focused on the «usual suspects» while less visible extremist elements are escalating their terrorists acts. «It is no exaggeration to say that there is a trend toward a new generation of usual suspects, something that to some extent has sidetracked the investigation while extremist elements are adopting more and more extreme forms of activity,» commented a leading police official.