The two Pakistanis arrested for plotting a terror attack against Jews in Athens - 27-year-old leader Hayder, who lived in Zakynthos, and the 29-year-old Hussein, who had moved to Sparta - have been revealed.
The two men, and three other Pakistanis in Athens who are still at large, reportedly made up Greece’s terrorist cell that was in contact with and took orders from their 30-year-old compatriot who lived in Tehran as a wanted man.
Proto Thema published the photos of the two arrested Pakistanis who planned to attack the Jewish synagogue in the Athens neighbourhood of Psirri.
According to Proto Thema, it is only a matter of time before the three in Athens are arrested as they all seem to have been talking together in closed groups of online applications, with a large part of the messages already decoded by Greek authorities.
As it turned out, they had developed a relationship through criminal and penitentiary inmates, with fellow countrymen and even Albanians looking for weapons and professional executioners.
“This one is good. He has also done prison,” they are believed to have said in one of the conversations decoded by the intelligence services.
They allegedly discussed prices and the number of people they wanted to kill. The big problem they faced was finding trusted people in the criminal world to hand over the weapons to them as they were under unbearable pressure from the liaison in Tehran to act quickly and waste no time in taking action.
In fact, he allegedly told them that if they couldn’t find the weapons they should plant gas bottles at the Aesopou Street restaurant synagogue and blow up innocent Jews and citizens.
According to conversations police decoded on their phones, the mastermind sent a list of people to photograph while directing them and how to take the photographic material.
As they mentioned in another conversation, the Pakistani from Tehran, persistently demanded to know if the photography had gone ahead for a certain person who was a target and had a beard.
According to report, the terrorists were under immense pressure from the liaison in Tehran to act quickly. In fact, he allegedly told them that if they can't find the weapons to gas innocent citizens of the restaurant-synagogue on Aesopou Street, to use gas bottles to create an explosion.
According to decoded conversations, which the 30-year-old Pakistani living in Tehran had with Hayder, he sent him a list of people to photograph, while also directing him how to take the photographic material.
As they mentioned in another conversation, the Pakistani from Tehran, persistently asked to know if the photography had gone ahead for a certain person, who was a target and had a beard.
The Mossad spy agency reported the Times of Israel, said it aided Greek authorities in foiling an attempt by two Pakistanis to carry out an attack against Israeli and Jewish targets in Greece.
In a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, Mossad says details of the “serious affair” released earlier today are part of Iran’s constant attempts to target Israelis and Jews abroad.
“After the investigation of the suspects began in Greece, the Mossad assisted in unravelling intelligence of the infrastructure, the methods of operation, and the connection to Iran,” the spy agency says.
The Mossad says the investigation revealed that the two Pakistanis were part of a “wide Iranian network that operates from Iran and out of many countries.”
The spy agency vows that together with its partners in the intelligence community, it “works by virtue of its role continuously to thwart terror attacks by Iran all over the globe.”
For their part, the European Jewish Congress thanked Greek authorities for swiftly dealing with what could have been a "horrific attack".
"Our deepest appreciation to the Greek authorities for their swift, effective action in preventing a horrific attack on a Jewish restaurant-synagogue in Athens. Safety of Jewish life is an obligation for our democratic societies," the EJC tweeted.
The Israeli Foreign Minister also tweeted about the incident.
"I want to thank the Greek government and intelligence and security services for thwarting the terrorist attack against Jewish and Israeli targets. Terrorism is a common enemy, and the fight against it is our top priority," Foreign Minister Eli Cohen tweeted.
"The government of the Ayatollahs in Tehran exports terrorism to the Middle East and the entire world, and only with a firm and joint stand will we be able to stop the terrorist activities of the Iranian regime," he added.
A Pakistani jihadi group operating in the Greek capital was unveiled to be masterminded by a man who is wanted for murder in Iran and who recruited two men aged 27 and 29 to carry out a series of targeted terrorist attacks against innocent civilians and a Jewish restaurant/synagogue.
Greek police and intelligence officers dismantled the terrorist organisation.
The first target for the series of attacks, and in which the planning was almost completed, was a Jewish restaurant that also functioned as a synagogue. The restaurant synagogue is in the central Athens neighbourhood of Psirri.
The would-be terrorists had chosen to attack either with weapons or explosives or by setting fire at a time when more than 50 people would be in the building. In other words, the goal was a mass bloodbath.
For each dead person, the two Pakistani perpetrators would receive 15,000 euros from the Pakistani mastermind of the terrorist network, Proto Thema reported.
The case began to unfold two months ago when information about the network's activity reached Greece's National Intelligence Service (EYP). The Anti-Terrorism Department were also informed.
Intelligence officers immediately observed the two Pakistanis, who worked in various manual jobs in Attica and the countryside. They were arrested on February 15th and 16th as they did not have the necessary papers to stay legally in Greece.
From their mobile phones, communications with the leader were found. The pair had carried out surveillance on Aesopou Street in Psirri. They then received the final instructions for carrying out the attack and began looking for more people to help carry out the terrorist attack.
"Following coordinated actions by the Greek Police and the National Intelligence Service, a terrorist network was dismantled that, with guidance from abroad, was planning strikes against carefully selected targets in Greek territory.
"Based on information collected and processed by the National Intelligence Service, coordinated operations of the EYP and the Anti-Terrorist Service (D.A.E.B.) were carried out in various areas.
"In the context of these coordinated actions of the two services, two (2) foreigners were arrested, members of the terrorist leader, who were active abroad, as the 'brains' of the network.
"They aimed not only at the loss of innocent citizens but also at undermining the country's sense of security, simultaneously damaging its institutions and threatening its international relations.
"From the analysis of the seized information and digital data, it was revealed and confirmed that the members of the network:
- had already chosen as the target of the attack a building of particular significance,
- had carried out the reconnaissance of the area and the planning of the attack,
- had received final instructions for carrying out the attack,
"In the implementation of these instructions, they were also looking for other persons for the best possible execution of their mission.
"A criminal case file was opened, while in the morning hours of 03/28/2023, the arrested persons were brought before the Athens District Attorney and referred to an Investigator.
"The investigations are continuing."
Theodorikakos: Priority for the Police is national security
In his message on dismantling the terrorist network, the Minister of Citizen Protection, Takis Theodorikakos, said: "National security and dealing with any form of risk of a terrorist attack against targets inside the country are a priority for the Greek Police and a key area of cooperation with the National Intelligence Service."
"Recently, the Anti-Terrorist Service of the Hellenic Police, in collaboration with the National Intelligence Service, dismantled a terrorist organisation network in which foreigners participated, who were brought before the Court this morning.
"This operation confirms once again that the country's security authorities maintain their preparedness at a very high level for all Greeks and visitors to our homeland".
It was recently revealed that up to 50,000 Pakistanis live in Greece with fake papers, most having entered posing as Syrians during the 2015-2016 refugee crisis without any actual formal documents or identity papers.
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