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Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 April 2014
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Greece, 30 April 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/536229e914.html [accessed 25 July 2016]
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: In 2013, Greece continued to experience intermittent small-scale attacks like targeted package bombs or improvised explosive device detonation by domestic anarchist groups. Generally, these attacks did not appear to aim to inflict bodily harm but rather sought to make a political statement. Overall, Greek government cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism remained strong.

2013 Terrorist Incidents:

  • On January 20, two homemade bombs exploded on the first floor of a shopping center near Athens injuring two private security guards. Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • On July 30, the Greek coast guard seized a boat near the island of Chios after a routine check revealed illegal arms and ammunition, including anti-tank mortar rounds, hand grenades, guns, bullets, and explosive devices. The Greek police confirmed that among those arrested in connection with the boat seizure was Hasan Bieber, wanted in Turkey for attacks claimed by the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front.

  • On November 1, two unidentified persons shot and killed two members of the Golden Dawn political party and injured a third person in front of the party's office in the Athens suburb Neo Heraklion. The "Militant People's Revolutionary Forces" claimed responsibility for the attack; police were still investigating it at year's end.

  • On December 24, a group called Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front threatened to poison certain Coca-Cola products in Greece with hydrochloric acid, causing a recall of those products from store shelves.

  • On December 30, an unknown group fired approximately 60 rounds at the German Ambassador's residence in Athens. The attackers remained at large at year's end.

Greece's two largest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, experienced frequent, relatively small-scale anarchist attacks that used inexpensive and unsophisticated incendiary devices against the properties of political figures, party offices, private bank ATMs, ministries and tax offices, and privately-owned vehicles.

One incident was reported against U.S. interests. On January 14, unidentified perpetrators used flammable liquid to attack the Citibank branch office in the Athens suburb Neo Heraklion. Minor property damage was sustained. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Article 187A of the Greek Penal Code codifies the terrorism statute. In addition, Article 28 (1) of the Greek Constitution subjects Greek citizens to applicable International Laws, to include terrorism. Article 28 (2) and (3) subjects Greek citizens to applicable EU Laws, including the EU law against terrorism. The Police Directorate for Countering Special Violent Crimes (DAEEV) is responsible for counterterrorism in Greece. DAEEV is extremely proactive and attracts highly motivated and educated young police officers. This unit has demonstrated a high capacity to collect information, but it lacks capacity to utilize the volume of data it collects and to share with other services within the Greek police and Coast Guard.

Greece has a weak border document system for its passports. The national ID card is extremely vulnerable to alteration and photo substitution, and it has not incorporated any new security features such as digitized photo and biometrics.

On April 3, five members of Revolutionary Struggle were convicted by an Athens appeals court; three of them received maximum prison sentences. Two of the lead members were convicted in absentia, as they have not been located since they disappeared in 2012, although press reports in October noted police suspicion of their involvement in a series of bank robberies throughout the country. Three other members were acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence.

The trial of 19 suspected members of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, which began in 2011, was repeatedly postponed due to work stoppages by judges and judicial postponements in 2012. The trial continued in 2013 with the last session taking place on October 25.

The porous nature of Greece's borders is of concern. While Greek border authorities have had success in the past year stemming the flow of illegal migration at the land border with Turkey, their ability to control large-scale illegal migration via sea borders is limited. Recent regional upheavals have intensified illegal migration to and through Greece via the Greek Aegean islands. In June and July respectively, DHS/ICE provided computer security and border security training to Hellenic National Police and the Greek Coast Guard.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Greece is a member of the Financial Action Task Force. The Foreign Ministry's Sanctions Monitoring Unit is tasked with ensuring that Greece meets its commitments to enforce international sanctions, including terrorism-related sanctions. The Financial Intelligence Unit inspected 3,318 suspicious transactions in 2013, but did not discover evidence of terrorist financing in Greece. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Greece engaged constructively on counterterrorism initiatives in international fora and regularly participated in regional information exchange and seminars through such bodies as the UN, the EU, the OSCE, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime, and the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

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