It was recently unveiled that a terrorist cell comprising of Pakistani Shi'ites were planning an attack against a Jewish restaurant-synagogue in the Greek capital. However, it was even more recently revealed that the would-be terrorists planned four more attacks, in Greece.
The two Pakistanis were recruited by their co-national who is part of a paramilitary organisation based in Iran. Their sole criterion was for the greatest possible number of dead and injured, so that the bloodbath would resonate around the whole world.
The paid terrorists, in addition to the attack on the synagogue-restaurant in the Psirri neighbourhood of Athens, were planning to plant a bomb in the centre of Athens, a blind attack on an island, as well as the murders of a bearded man and a videotaped businessman.
As revealed by the transmission presented by Proto Thema, the 27-year-old leader of the Greek arm and resident of Zakynthos, Irtaza Haider, his 29-year-old compatriot resident of Sparta, Hussein Abid, under the orders of the 30-year-old Pakistani living in Tehran, Sayed Fakhar Abbas, wanted to:
- Cause an explosion, with homicidal intent, in the Orthodox Jewish synagogue "Chabad of Athens" on 10 Aesopou Street in Athens, using explosives or igniting a gas bottle, as well as an armed attack at the same place.
- The placement of a backpack of explosives in a crowded area of Athens or Zakynthos during the Christmas holidays of the year 2022, with homicidal intent and seeking to cause the maximum possible number of deaths.
- Committing crimes against life or property against nationals doing business in the territory of Israel.
- The homicide of at least two people on a Greek island without being able to determine the exact location during the preliminary investigation".
The revelations about the barrage of attacks came from the findings on the mobile phones of the two arrested, as hundreds of conversations, photographs and videos were found, which exposed their dark plans.
In fact, as recorded in the conclusion of the Anti-Terrorist Unit, "they simultaneously carry out actions concerning different terrorist attacks, which they alternate / choose according to the actual conditions prevailing in each case and also the capabilities of the organisation existing at the same time."
Consequently, the non-commitment by the organisation for any the planned attacks is always due to reasons independent of the will of its members (external obstacles, non-existence of specific materials at a given time, etc.).
It is noted that up until February 12, i.e. two days before the initial detection of 27-year-old Irtaza Haider by the Anti-Terrorism unit, there were continuous communications between the defendants regarding the commission of terrorist acts".
The National Intelligence Service (EYP), in collaboration with Israeli Mossad liaisons, have in their hands eight more Pakistanis, all of whom had close contacts with the two arrested. They were living illegally in our country and are being investigated if they are members of the Athens core.
Last fall, when the EYP began investigations into a group of Pakistani immigrants recruited by a wanted compatriot living in Iran, it began a sweep of surveillance and analysis.
When the puzzle was completed, it showed how high the risk was that Greece would experience bloody attacks with victims of dozens of innocents by paid terrorists.
According to what is written in the communication drawn up by Anti-Terrorism: "On November 2 Sayed Fakhar Abbas from Tehran instructs Irtaza Haider in Zakynthos, first to send him photos or videos of the weapons and then to complete the work he undertook with the boat and rifles in order to be paid."
"In addition, he sends him a number of photos from the Orthodox Jewish synagogue "Chabad of Athens", from the restaurant housed inside it and the outdoor area near it, asking him to immediately activate someone to take videos and photos.
"Following this suggestion, the 27-year-old forwards photos on the same day."
A week later - and specifically on November 8 - Abbas makes reference to the fees they will receive from the jobs they will carry out, saying: "I say if it is up to 2-3 people, if they find 5-6 people elsewhere, they increase the number, I can double the amount for you.
"As the numbers grow, so will the money. If up to 5-6 people reach up to 20,000,000 rupees, there is neither difficulty nor sorrow. The more work we do, the more I will take and give to them."
From November 14 to 23 Sayed Fakhar Abbas repeatedly demands that Irtaza Haider take pictures with the weapons and also send pictures and videos from the synagogue with the help of his partner. The 27-year-old reassures him that he has given the job to his own person.
The first report of planning a new terrorist attack comes a few days later. According to the transmission, on November 24, Sayed Fakhar Abbas asked for pictures of the weapons and Irtaza Haider sent him a picture showing Hussain Abid holding a hunting rifle and next to him a man holding birds.
The two proceed to plan a terrorist act by proposing to carry out the attack by placing a backpack with explosives in a crowded area of Athens or Zakynthos, on Christmas or New Year, so that there will be as many victims as possible.
"Come the Christmas holidays, we could find a lot of people gathered in the same place, that is, we could put explosives in a backpack and leave them in one place and there would have been a lot of people shaken. I could do this here on the island, I could also do it in Athens if we had the things you said," says the 27-year-old, who asks Abbas to supply him with explosives, with the latter replying that this is unfeasible and advises against the use of weapons.
He points out that he has already informed the other unknown members that they are in possession of the weapons and he can no longer deny it, saying "what you say, for these things to be sorted out, it is very difficult. If they were to arrive, then the weapons would be easier... I have told them that we have weapons and a boat and they were convinced and I can't change that now."
However, it is revealed that at the same time the two arrested were also working on another plan, even progressing quite a bit, identifying the man who would carry it out. It is specifically mentioned in the case file:
"The 27-year-old reports that he approached an Albanian to commit murder, but the deal did not close because the latter said that the money was small and that he would carry it heavily on his conscience.
"He was an Albanian and I talked to him and I said that there is a man and you should clean him and I told him about the man with the beard in the restaurant. The Albanian said that firstly the money is small and secondly 'how will I sleep at night? I can't kill him. I can only stab him, yes."
In late November, the Pakistani team also proceeded to plan a third attack, especially bloody and defiantly violent and blind. In fact, the action would take place after the olives were harvested.
"27-year-old Irtaza Haider proposes to Sayed Fakhar Abbas as an alternative to committing murder that he and Hussain Abid go to an island that he does not name in the conversation and where a friend lives who owns guns and pistols.
"There, they could commit murders by stopping a car on the road and killing 2-3 people, taking a relevant video as evidence, saying: ' I have a friend on an island who has three guns and pistols. And he says that as soon as they finish with the olives, let's stop a car, be 2-3 people, and then send the video.
"The other says "let's be the two of us". However, he emphasises that doing so requires about 10 days of pre-work so that they can properly survey the site for any police blockades. In addition, he asks Abbas for money to advance the preparations.
"Sayed Fakhar Abbas approves the proposal but sets a time limit for the 27-year-old and 29-year-old to be together for this job, while asking for their bank accounts in Pakistan to deposit the money.
He informs him that for each dead person the reward is 5 million rupees, saying: "That's why I told you to arrange either one person, or two, or three-four, tell them openly and clearly, for each head the reward is 5 million rupees.
"Whether you do 1-2-3, etc., divide the amount per person and that's how you'll get the money."
At the same time, however, they continued to deal with the terrorist attack at the restaurant on Aesopou Street in Psirri , with a series of actions that are revealed step by step through the case file.
Specifically: “On December 5, Abbas asks for photos of the group with Irtaza Haider promoting photos depicting him and photos depicting Hussein. On January 4, Abbas sends Haider the exact location of the Orthodox synagogue with instructions on how to obtain video from inside.
Then the 27-year-old sends some videos from outside a shop located near the synagogue, stating "I have sent you many videos and they have come to this street where there are many shops, many tourists from Europe, from Italy, from Germany and from different countries,” with Abbas satisfied with the result and Haider replying: “Nice, very nice. Things are very strict here because many people protect them here. They are the same ones I was telling you, those who need this video will understand who they are. It's in the centre."
On January 9 and 12, the two defendants chat about the team's action and focus on the impending strike at the restaurant. Abbas is reportedly being pressured by unknown people to carry out the terrorist attack saying: “They are threatening me too much. And if a solution is not found, great harm will happen."
Haider reassures him by sending various messages, such as "it's too difficult for me to go back", "I can't leave. I need explosive things", "In this restaurant, I will do it", "Now I will do a big job".
He also asks the 30-year-old in Tehran to supply him with what he needs to carry out the attack with him counter-suggesting alternative ways to carry out the hit, such as “at the restaurant, you can use a gas bottle”, or “go 2-3 people and set the kitchen on fire when you find right opportunity".
Abbas again refers to unknown, unverified members of the organisation, saying: "It's not like that, today I went to them. "They showed me the video for other jobs as well," "I tried a lot, about two hours of mytime". "Until the issue is resolved, there is no way they will give me money."
Haider seems determined to carry out the terrorist attack, as he says in a message: "I want to get enough money, be it the church or some central place for more than 40-50 people to go".
The 'other solution'
In that WhatsApp conversation, the 30-year-old from Tehran insists something should be done immediately with Haider stating "we have to target another person. I can't find this person. It's a new organisation and I need time from you", "Help me even a little because I can't back down I tell you", "Find another solution, apart from blackmailing and intimidating others".
Abbas insists and sends the following messages "whatever you can do soon because I won't be given much time", "Let the work be done in such a way that they have no room to complain. Do you understand that?"
Haider reassures him that "it will happen, I promise, and I will send you photos and videos of every injured person," to which Abbas replies, "When you get the chance, set the restaurant on fire, take Hussain with you, or arrange something else and make it look like a simple accident."
However, through the messages that the police managed to retrieve, it is revealed that another strike is in the works, this time with a human target. In conversation, they refer to a third person about whom Haider mentions: “The one we are going to target, comes three days Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Abbas asks for details saying "can I have a picture of this man? If he is a businessman can you google the company or find him on Facebook? There will be details."
On January 29 and February 12, conversations that target a specific person take place.
Haider sends a picture of him, Abbas wants more information about this person and his family background, pointing out that the details he gives him must be correct saying: "Because if they show him on TV under a different name, then we will have a problem".
At the same time, it demands that other actions be taken immediately, such as taking photos and videos of the person and the car, stating: "Take any such video that shows that we are watching him. The license plate of the car and this person should be clearly visible."
Haider responds to this by sending pictures and videos.
Arrests and Investigations
Through the case file it is revealed that the two Pakistanis were actually living a double life. On the one hand, land workers, on the other, paid terrorists who wanted to bleed Greece to get money and open hotels and restaurants in Pakistan.
"During the identity check, Irtaza Haider showed an Anti-Terrorism police officer, as his identification document, an obviously fake certificate of application for the issuance of a residence permit, bearing different information from his own, but on which his own photo was sewn," report the Anti-Terrorist police officers, wanting to point out that the leader of the Greek arm and recruiter had found the ends to even make fake documents.
In fact, even when he was brought in because he did not have the necessary documents, the 27-year-old understood what was going to happen and was trying to anticipate the developments regarding what the police would find on his mobile phone.
"During the searches that took place on February 16 in Zakynthos and in particular against the legal body search of Irtaza Haider, he reacted strongly by persistently asking when his confiscated mobile phone device would be returned to him. After a few hours and while he was a prisoner at the Zakynthos Security Department, he expressed his desire to speak to the police regarding his mobile phone that had already been confiscated as part of his body search.
"In particular he stated that since November, he had WhatsApp conversations on his cell phone with a Pakistani neighbour living in Iran, who asked him to take videos and photos of a restaurant in the centre of Athens called 'Chabad' in exchange for money. In fact, he sent him via WhatsApp the exact coordinates of the place where he had to film.
"For this reason, Irtaza Haider traveled in early January to Athens, took pictures of the restaurant, and sent them to Sayed Fakhar Abbas. In addition, he said that he had asked another compatriot by the name of Hussain Abid, aged 29, who works in Sparta, to film the same place", the transmission states.
What both the EYP and Anti-Terrorism are now investigating is whether the 30-year-old Pakistani, who is wanted in his country for murders and lives permanently in Tehran, has been approached by Quds Force officials in order to locate his compatriots, who live and work in Athens or other citiesm and with the lure of money transform them into mercenary terrorists.
Essentially Quds is an Iranian paramilitary organisation under the Revolutionary Guards that carries out operations outside the country, without ever claiming responsibility. The eight Pakistanis detained for administrative deportation have entered the microscope of Greek and foreign secret services in order to decipher contacts with other people who play a strange game and move in the field of Islamic terrorism.