Overview: In 2015, Greece experienced intermittent small-scale attacks such as targeted package bombs or IED detonations by domestic anarchist groups, although slightly fewer than in 2014. Generally, these attacks did not appear aimed to inflict bodily harm but rather sought to make a political statement. Greek government cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism remained strong. Senior Greek government leaders have emphasized that counterterrorism is one of their top priorities. The MFA quickly condemned foreign acts of terrorism, has strongly condemned the actions of ISIL as abhorrent, and has called on all states to actively and effectively confront this threat. Greece is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and is implementing UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2178, 2199, and the UN 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da'esh) and al-Qa'ida sanctions regime.

2015 Terrorist Incidents: Greece's two largest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, experienced occasional, 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.

On October 26, Hellenic Police charged five members of the right-wing group "Epsilon – Greek Fighters' Faction" with planting IEDs outside the Bank of Greece in Kalamata and at the statue of Byzantine Emperor Constantine Palaiologos in Mystras on October 23. The suspects reportedly told police that they believe in Zeus and are against Christianity.

On November 24, a three-kilogram gelatin dynamite IED exploded outside the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises' (SEV) downtown Athens headquarters, situated approximately three blocks from the Greek Parliament in the heart of the popular tourist area of Syntagma Square, and across the street from the Cypriot embassy, which sustained significant damage. Media reported that SEV has been targeted multiple times since 1976, as some in the anarchist community view it as a symbol of globalization. Advance warning was given and there were no injuries.

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 those related to 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 attracts highly motivated and educated young police officers. This unit has demonstrated a high capacity to collect information, but it lacks capacity to use the volume of data it collects and to share with other services within the Greek police and Coast Guard.

Greece's 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. To mitigate this vulnerability, police authorities instituted a system for conducting electronic checks of civil registry databases to confirm documents submitted as part of the application for ID issuance, and checks of national ID databases for passport issuance. The government has further committed to address this vulnerability through the eventual introduction of a biometric national ID.

Christodoulos Xiros, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and hit-man for the radical leftist group Revolutionary Organization 17 November, was recaptured in January 2015 after he disappeared in January 2014 while on furlough from prison. Hellenic Police uncovered evidence at the time of his arrest that he was plotting an attack on Korydallos Prison to release imprisoned members of terrorist group Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei. Xiros was put on trial on November 16 along with 27 other individuals, many of whom are alleged or known members of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei.

Nikolaos Maziotis, a lead member of the terrorist organization Revolutionary Struggle, was put on trial October 16, 2015 for terrorist acts committed before his recapture in July 2014. In May, Hellenic Police arrested Spyros Christodoulou and Grigoris Tsironis, known associates of Maziotis. Georgios Petrakakos, another known associate of Maziotis, was arrested in late September and charged with membership in a terrorist organization. At the time of Petrakakos' arrest, police discovered weapons and evidence of kidnapping plots.

While the Hellenic Police DAEEV directorate arrested 16 suspected members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), including senior leader Hussein Tekin, in two raids in summer 2013 and February 2014, 13 of the suspects were tried in January 2015. Charges were dropped against two of the suspects while 11 were given prison sentences ranging from three to seven years. Six of the 11 sentences were commuted to monetary fines.

The porous nature of Greece's borders remained of serious concern. To help address vulnerabilities, in June, the Hellenic Coast Guard, with U.S. support, sponsored a regional conference on Transnational Maritime Security Threats to enhance capabilities and coordination between maritime security organizations across the Mediterranean through an exchange of best practices. More than 70 participants from 15 countries around the Mediterranean and the Balkans attended. This was followed by a senior-level seminar in September that the U.S. Embassy in Athens helped coordinate at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Center in Crete. The three-day executive seminar included more than 60 maritime law enforcement, defense, and other security service officials, as well as representatives and experts from more than 17 countries and organizations.

Also in September, more than 60 law enforcement officials from DHS and the Hellenic Customs Authority (HCA) participated in a program to enhance HCA's border interdictions and anti-smuggling investigations. Training included instruction on developing successful investigations against transnational criminal organizations that play key roles in narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and human smuggling, all potentially supporting terrorism. In November, the Department of State supported a DHS-led Maritime and Land Border Security Training for operational units from the Hellenic Police and Coast Guard designed to improve interdiction and investigative measures to enhance counterterrorism operations.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Greece is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, and its financial intelligence unit, the Hellenic Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Commission (HAMLC), is a member of the Egmont Group. 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 HAMLC, which is essentially an autonomous institution, although nominally under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance, inspected 5,198 suspicious transactions through November 11, 2015, but did not report evidence of terrorism financing in Greece.

Terrorist assets remain frozen until the completion of judicial proceedings when a court decision is rendered. Non-profit organizations are not obliged to file suspicious transaction reports. However, all banks – through which these organizations conduct transactions – are legally obliged to report suspicious transactions of any kind, regardless of the type of entity (for- or not-for-profit), and the government may directly monitor such entities if necessary.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Countering Violent Extremism: Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias has steadily and publicly voiced support for countering ISIL and condemned its actions. Greece is sensitive to the dangers of radicalization and engages regional partners on the matter. In October, Kotzias hosted a widely-attended International Conference in Athens on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East."

International and Regional 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 the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Greece participated in international and regional trainings geared to bolster criminal justice efforts to prevent and respond to terrorism. For example, Greece hosted a week-long training conducted by OSCE that was centered on several of the criminal justice good practices contained in the GCTF's Rabat Memorandum Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism in the Criminal Justice Sector.


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