Greece a ‘terrorist transit route’

In its annual report on international terrorism, the US State Department expressed concern about the «dramatic increase» in illegal immigrants entering Greece last year and suggested that the country risked becoming «a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States.» Starting its country report on Greece, the State Department noted that «Greece and the United States have a strong record of counterterrorism cooperation.» It also praised Greek authorities for «cooperating with US officials on information sharing as well as the training of Greek security and customs officials, and judicial personnel.» But it expressed concern about the implications of the growing influx of immigrants streaming into Greece. «Greece is increasingly an EU entry point for illegal immigrants coming from the Middle East and South Asia, and there was concern that it could be used as a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States,» the report said. It also noted that the number of would-be migrants entering Greece through the Aegean «increased dramatically in 2008 and about 100,000 illegal immigrants were arrested.» The report also makes reference to disbanded terror group November 17, noting that convicted hit man Dimitris Koufodinas had issued a written statement from prison «extolling ‘direct action’ that would ‘strike blows to the capital system.’» It also mentions Revolutionary Struggle and the attacks the leftist group has claimed on a riot police bus in the Athens district of Goudi in December and on the Athens headquarters of oil company Shell in October. Rounding off, the report refers to attacks by self-styled anarchists and to the Athens riots last December, noting that «police officials pursued a more proactive approach to deterring these attacks and arrested perpetrators.» A Foreign Ministry source in Athens said yesterday that it would examine the report and, «if it deems it necessary, will take the required action.»

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