Police on state of alert
After threats by escaped N17 convict, security ramped up to Olympic levels
Amid rising fears of a possible terrorist attack on a high-level target, the Greek Police is enforcing security measures akin to those used for the Athens Olympics in 2004, Kathimerini has learned.
Police patrols have been intensified around central landmarks and hotels where foreign officials visiting Athens as part of the country’s presidency of the European Union are staying. One official revealed that bomb disposal experts have been instructed to search individuals and vehicles that appear suspicious. The force is also reviewing security for the 320 top potential targets for terrorist hits in Athens, according to sources, while Greek authorities are believed to have sought the help of the FBI and Scotland Yard.
The security alert comes a day after fugitive November 17 convict Christodoulos Xeros announced his return to terrorism in an online video message and letter. Xeros has been at large since absconding from a furlough from Korydallos Prison earlier this month. A police search for him continued yesterday, with raids on several apartments in Athens and Thessaloniki and three arrests, two in the capital and one in the northern port.
Meanwhile, the police offered a 4-millioneuro reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of Xeros as well as another two convicted members of Revolutionary Struggle and the unknown killers of two members of the neofascist Golden Dawn. Nikos Maziotis and Panagiota Roupa are unaccounted for since July 2012, when they were released after serving the maximum of 18 months in pretrial custody.
Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou is drafting reforms to make it easier to remand suspects pending trial and to tighten prison security. Korydallos Prison got a new warden yesterday. Hara Koutsomichali replaced Maria Stefi, who was moved to another prison as a probe gets under way into how Xeros was allowed to meet with jailed members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.