Police seek terror clues

As police appealed to citizens to help them trace the individuals who planted 60 kilos of explosives outside a bank in Kifissia on Wednesday morning in an unprecedented attempted attack, government officials clashed with opposition deputies in Parliament about how an emerging terror threat should be tackled. Forensic experts were examining the remains of an ammonium nitrate bomb destroyed by police in a controlled explosion outside the premises of Citibank. Police have linked the bomb to the Revolutionary Struggle terror group, best known for its rocket-propelled grenade attack on the US Embassy in January 2007. In a bid to generate leads in their investigation, officers appealed to citizens to contact them if they have any information about the gray Mazda that was loaded with the explosives and abandoned outside the Citibank offices. According to police, the vehicle, whose registration number is XIA 1830, was stolen from the Athens district of Kaisariani on January 25 and abandoned in Kifissia, outside the Citibank offices, at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. Police have asked anyone who saw the car at any point or saw anything suspicious in the area of the attack to telephone them on 170 or 1014 confidentially. Meanwhile in Parliament, MPs from main opposition PASOK condemned the government for failing to curb a new terror threat. Michalis Chrysochoidis, a former public order minister, said New Democracy was «incapable of tackling the problem,» noting that Athens had begun to resemble Baghdad or Kabul with the latest surge in violent attacks. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros dismissed the criticism by PASOK as an attempt to make «petty political gains» from a bad situation. In a related development, members of the arts world including academics and actors issued a joint statement condemning Wednesday’s attack on prominent criminologist Yiannis Panousis, who was beaten by a large gang of youths in the middle of one of his lectures. They condemned «an outbreak of violence and terrorism that is unprecedented in the post-junta years and can leave no one indifferent.»

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