Po­lice see ac­tive group be­hind hit at PASOK of­fices

Revo­lu­tion­ary Self-De­fense un­der scru­tiny

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing an armed at­tack on po­lice guard­ing the head­quar­ters of PASOK in cen­tral Athens early yes­ter­day morn­ing, which in­jured an of­fi­cer, be­lieve the Revo­lu­tion­ary Self­De­fense ur­ban guer­rilla group, which struck the same of­fices in 2014 and has also hit for­eign em­bassies in Athens, is prob­a­bly be­hind the as­sault.

There had been no claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack by late last night. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to sources, po­lice be­lieve the group which claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for an armed at­tack on PASOK’s of­fices in June 2014, on the eve of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions, will likely also claim yes­ter­day’s hit.

In both cases, the per­pe­tra­tor used an as­sault ri­fle.

The group has also claimed an­other two re­cent at­tacks – one, us­ing a Kalash­nikov, on the build­ing hous­ing the Mex­i­can Em­bassy last July, and a hand grenade launched against the French Em­bassy last Novem­ber.

Yes­ter­day’s as­sault oc­curred shortly af­ter 6 a.m. The per­pe­tra­tor fired at a po­lice bus parked out­side PASOK’s of­fices on the cor­ner of Har­i­laou Trik­oupi and Ara­cho­vis streets.

Two of the bul­lets pen­e­trated the wind­shield of the ve­hi­cle and a third pierced a hel­met that was hang­ing on a hook in­side the van.

A fourth shot was fired at the po­lice­man in the guard post out­side the of­fice and though it did not hit him, the of­fi­cer was in­jured by frag­ments of the bul­let that sprayed into his stom­ach and thigh. He was ad­mit­ted to a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal where doc­tors said his con­di­tion was sta­ble.

The closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­eras out­side PASOK’s of­fices did not cap­ture the move­ments of the per­pe­tra­tors but the cam­eras on a neigh­bor­ing store did. Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources, the video shows the per­pe­tra­tor stand­ing next to a lamp post and open­ing fire with a Kalash­nikov-style as­sault ri­fle which had been hang­ing on a strap around his neck. The as­sailant, who was tall and wore a mask, then fled on foot.

Po­lice bal­lis­tics ex­perts were ex­am­in­ing bul­let cas­ings col­lected from the scene of the at­tack yes­ter­day for more leads to the per­pe­tra­tors.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve it is very likely that the at­tack was car­ried out as an act of re­venge fol­low­ing last week’s ar­rest of Pana­giota Roupa, a lead­ing mem­ber of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Strug­gle guer­rilla group.

It re­mains un­clear whether there is thought to be any link be­tween the groups.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, po­lice had feared a re­ac­tion by an­ar­chist groups in the wake of Roupa’s ar­rest but not nec­es­sar­ily a ter­ror­ist hit. A po­lice cir­cu­lar had been is­sued to of­fi­cers guard­ing po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness of­fices to be ex­tra vig­i­lant for pos­si­ble at­tacks by an­ar­chists fol­low­ing Roupa’s ar­rest.

Po­lice of­fi­cials would yes­ter­day not con­firm re­ports that notes found in Roupa’s hide­out in­cluded New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis and former prime min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras as po­ten­tial tar­gets. How­ever Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Nikos Toskas spoke to Mit­so­takis by tele­phone.

Mit­so­takis, for his part, blamed the gov­ern­ment for an up­surge in guer­rilla ac­tiv­ity, claim­ing that it has not ad­e­quately con­demned or fought the ac­tiv­i­ties of an­ar­chists.

Po­lice of­fi­cers and foren­sic ex­perts walk out­side PASOK party head­quar­ters in cen­tral Athens af­ter a gun­man opened fire at a po­lice bus yes­ter­day. A po­lice of­fi­cer was slightly in­jured in the at­tack, which took place shortly af­ter 6 a.m.

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