Greek police arrested two men on Sunday on suspicion of terrorism following a raid on a domestic terrorist cell believed to belong to the group calling themselves the Revolutionary Self-Defence (Epanastatiki Aftoamina).
Authorities claim the arrests have prevented a planned hit, adding that the Revolutionary Self-Defence the two men allegedly belonged to, was the same group that had assumed responsibility for a handgrenade explosion at the French embassy in 2016, across from Parliament that had injured the guard. The group had also claimed the attack on the Mexican embassy in the same year and on PASOK’s offices in 2014, in the latter case using Kalashnikov rifles.
During the police raids on the cell, police confiscated, among others, 5 Kalashnikov-type guns, a submachine gun, 4 hand grenades with CS gas fillers, 17 detonators (9 of them remote-controlled), and various explosives including gelatin. They also found a 40-kilo package of ammonium nitrate and night vision binoculars. A ballistics examination of the weapons cache identified a Kalashnikov assault rifle that had been used in the Revolutionary Self-Defence’s attacks for which it had assumed responsibility.
“These weapons kill. Two were used and didn’t kill anyone, fortunately, but they injured policemen,” said Lefteris Chardalias of the Counterterrorism Service during briefings on recent findings.
“They didn’t hesitate to use a handgrenade at the French embassy, and we could have had a lot more victims. But what truly frightens us is the amount and power of explosives they possess. Fortunately, we found them on time.”
So far 15 individuals have been brought in for questioning and two men, aged 41 and 45, respectively, have been detained for terrorist acts and other crimes. In addition, a woman, 39, was detained for violating the law on arms. The 41-year-old man has served a jail sentence for membership in the terrorist group “Revolutionary Struggle” (Epanastatikos Agonas) and was released on remand on February 12, 2018, conditionally. The two men are scheduled to testify before an investigator on Tuesday.