10 June, 2005
A new ultra-leftist terrorist group has reportedly assumed responsibility for two terror-related incidents over the past year: last week's explosion outside the labor ministry in downtown Athens and an October 2004 attack against buses carrying police. Both incidents caused physical damage, but no human victims.
Authorities on Thursday said a lengthy proclamation by the so-alled "Revolutionary Struggle" group was sent to a weekly satirical newspaper a day earlier detailing the terrorist group's reasons for the strikes -- a practice eerily reminiscent of the once-elusive and deadly "November 17" terror gang, now dismantled.
In terms of the bomb blast outside the ministry, the proclamation reportedly refers to a "reply" vis-a-vis "the Greek state's neo-liberal plans for labor relations ... and the bandit-like raid against the working-class weak, being conducted today by the economic and political elite of the land".
The attack against the riot police buses -- on Oct. 29, 2004 -- was justified as an "answer to the Greek state's participation against 'terrorism' and the increasing violence and repression that this war entails."
The shadowy proclamation also claims that the October 2004 attack on the police bus convoy was related to the fact that it (convoy) served "to guard individuals found in the regime's jail cells, as well as to guard political prisoners..." a reference to convicted "N17" members, a number of whom have held up political reasons as behind that terror group's numerous assassinations, bombings and bank robberies.
A postscript on the proclamation, claiming that the bomb was left in a parking area but subsequently found, perused and promptly dumped in the trash by a passerby, has also piqued authorities' interest. The postscript, moreover, sarcastically refers to a policeman and a security guard on duty at the ministry on the evening of the blast, using a derisive style often encountered in past "November 17" communiqués with the press.
According to initial but as yet unofficial evaluations by the anti-terrorism squad's experts, the document is believed to have been composed by the culprits of the attacks.
One assessment holds that the style and language of the proclamation resembles past documents circulated by now defunct urban ultra-leftist groups, although police experts have not ruled out the possibility of younger political extremists forming this group.
"Revolutionary Struggle" first appeared in the "post-N17" period on Sept. 6, 2003 with a twin bomb attack against the Athens first instance courts building (Evelpidon).
A handful of terror strikes attributed to the same terrorist group followed, including:
• An attack on a multinational bank branch in the upscale Neo Psychiko district of Athens on March 14, 2004 using a homemade explosive device.
• The lobbing of three bombs against a police precinct in the Athens municipality of Kallithea on May 5, 2004
• A remote-controlled blast just a marked bus carrying riot police passed a planted explosive device on Petrou Ralli Boulevard in the Rouf district.
• The June 2, 2005 explosion outside the labor ministry.
Conversely, four recent bomb attacks have not been "claimed" so far:
• A bomb planted outside the courthouse in the central city of Larissa on May 29, 2004.
• Another bomb planted outside the offices of the Olympiaki Techniki construction company in the seaside Alimos district of Athens on Dec. 12, 2004.
• A similar attack on the AVAX construction company's office on May 24, 2005, and,
• The ominous gangland-style killing of a police sentry outside a diplomatic residence in the northern Kifissia municipality on New Year's Eve 2004.
In response to the development, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis told reporters that "our country is a modern democratic state that absolutely guarantees freedoms and the basic rights of citizens. Having a differing view is a cornerstone of democracy, but under no circumstances can it serve as an alibi for criminal actions. Terrorists are brutal criminals..." he said.
Source: Athens News Agency