Undistracted investigation

The terrorist attack in Athens on two buses carrying riot police early yesterday was the third such incident to take place over the past 12 months. There is no necessary connection with the previous attacks; nevertheless, a link cannot be ruled out. The explosives used by the bombers and the nature of the target seem to suggest that a link does indeed exist. However, as is often the case with terrorist attacks, the claim of responsibility by some shadowy organization and the scant evidence allow no safe conclusions. The responsible authorities must be left to conduct their investigation undistracted, and without psychological or other forms of pressure. The massive police clampdown over the past few years and the subsequent trials and sentences dealt a severe blow to post-1974 urban guerrilla groups. At the same time, however, it is clear that terrorism has not been totally eradicated; nor could it ever have been. Terrorism is the product of a wide range of factors. It is a complex phenomenon and not an isolated emotional reaction, and it should always be interpreted within a broader context. This year’s attacks, which followed the trials of the November 17 and ELA terrorist organizations, could have originated from the surviving – weakened or dormant – branches of the same tree. However, they could also be the handiwork of cells that sprang up much later and which have wholly different roots but which still employ operational tactics similar to those used by the older groups. The outdated technology that was used during the recent strikes should not, however, lead to hasty categorizations. Even more so when, as the police say, responsibility is most likely claimed by ghostly groups that keep changing names. As a result, acts like the Athens’s bomb attacks yesterday should be the subject of in-depth police investigation. The media should not blow such incidents out of proportion and, for their part, political parties should not rush to exaggerate or downplay them.