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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Greece, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e5248293c.html [accessed 17 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Large cities in Greece continued to face a significant challenge from domestic terrorism. Throughout the year in Athens and Thessaloniki, anarchists attacked banks, police stations, the homes and offices of politicians, and other "imperialist-capitalist" targets with weapons such as improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails. Police arrested suspected members of Revolutionary Struggle, but attacks by other terrorist groups continued, resulting in six deaths. Of the six, two were killed by bombings, one in a targeted killing, and three in an arson attack on a bank.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: Athens and Thessaloniki together experienced hundreds of security incidents, including incendiary and explosive strikes, as well as attacks involving small arms, grenades, and other infantry-style weaponry. Extremists struck businesses, Greek law enforcement, journalists, embassies, and for the first time, targets outside of Greece. Some of the more significant attacks included:

  • Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei claimed responsibility for a continuing series of attacks in March, May, November, and December that targeted political groups, foreign embassies, leaders of foreign governments, and symbols of the Greek state.

  • A bomb left outside the Athens office of a corporate management company killed a fifteen-year-old Afghan immigrant boy on March 28 and blinded his younger sister, when he apparently when he triggered the bomb by accident. The perpetrators remained unknown.

  • A parcel bomb, addressed to Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis, killed Chrysochoidis's aide, police Lieutenant Colonel Yorgos Vassilakis, on June 24 at Ministry of Citizen Protection headquarters. An anonymous group claimed responsibility.

  • Sect of Revolutionaries claimed responsibility for the July 19 assassination of blogger and radio station executive Sokratis Giolias outside his residence in Athens – the group's first operation after 13 months of inactivity – and threatened further attacks against police, government employees, journalists, and others as part of a stated desire to turn Greece into a "war zone."

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The following arrests/court actions occurred in 2010:

  • In April, police arrested six suspected members of the domestic terrorist organization Revolutionary Struggle (RS), after following the trail of physical evidence obtained at the scene of a deadly shootout between police and suspects in suburban Athens on March 9. In addition to the arrests, police discovered sites associated with the group, which contained extensive evidence, including bombs, ammunition, attack plans, and the rocket launcher RS is believed to have used in an attack on the U.S. Embassy in 2007.

  • On July 26, the Supreme Court rejected final appeals by six convicted members of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N), which was responsible for deaths of 23 people between 1975 and 2002. The Court sent the cases of two less prominent 17N convicts back to a lower court for review.

  • On November 1, police arrested two suspected members of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei in Athens soon after they had dropped off parcel improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at a courier service office. The two suspects were carrying two unsent parcel IEDs in a backpack when they were detained by Greek authorities.

Greek authorities participated in the Container Security Initiative and cooperated with U.S. officials on information sharing, as well as the training of Greek security and customs officials, and judicial personnel. Greece continued to work with the EU border agency FRONTEX to strengthen border security.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Since a critical 2007 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report, Greek authorities have made substantial progress in meeting shortcomings identified by FATF, including passing a new anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance law that addressed most of the FATF recommendations. Most recently, Greece ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and amended its law to criminalize and broadly define terrorist finance offenses. The government drafted legislation introducing suspected terrorists' designation and listing, assets freezing, and de-listing procedures in accordance with UNSCRs 1267 and 1373. Given the absence of specific legislation governing the freezing of terrorist assets, Greece used an administrative procedure to freeze assets of suspected terrorists designated domestically or upon request of foreign authorities. Though Greek authorities worked to improve the effectiveness of the Greek Financial Intelligence Unit, additional work remained to meet international standards.

Regional and International Cooperation: Greece participated in regional information exchange and seminars through such bodies as the OSCE, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative regional Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime, and the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Greece is a member of the UN Counterterrorism Committee.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Municipal governments in Athens established immigrant councils to foster dialogue on issues such as discrimination, social benefits for immigrants, legalization, employment, and security. Police officials met with representatives of the different immigrant communities to discuss ways to address discrimination and incidents of police abuse.

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