06 May, 2004
Three home-made bombs exploded behind the police precinct in the Athens suburb of Kallithea early Wednesday, causing damage but no injuries. A warning call had been placed to an Athens daily a few minutes before the blasts, but it was not immediately known whether the unidentified caller claimed responsibility on behalf of any organization.
Police analysts believe Wednesday's attack was not linked to the Olympic Games, given that the target selected was a police station and not an Olympics venue or other facility. They also opined that the incentive behind the attack was the ongoing trial of five suspected members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) group or the imminent transfer of the convicted "November 17" terrorist group members from the high-security prison in Korydallos, near Piraeus, to a high-security facility in Larissa.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis termed the explosions in Kallithea in the early hours on Wednesday as ''an isolated incident'' and stressed that ''they do not affect the security of Olympic Games preparations.''
Karamanlis stressed that Greece's efforts and the close collaboration with the relevant EU authorities, NATO, and the US, ensure the Games security.
Minister of State in charge of government and communications issues and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the following statement: ''Greek authorities are giving even isolated incidents which could occur in any part of the world, the necessary seriousness and responsibility they require. The evidence so far does not indicate that today's incident is connected to Olympic preparations.
The Greek authorities, in collaboration with the relevant authorities of the EU, the US, and NATO have designed a security system which ensures the smooth staging of the Olympic Games.''
In another statement related to terrorism, Roussopoulos said ''terrorism in Greece, carried out by specific organizations, has been eliminated. Any incidents are isolated events; the terrorists are in jail.''
Meanwhile, according to a Reuters dispatch from London, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Wednesday that "obviously it's an incident which is not connected with an Olympic venue".
"We understand it's a relatively small incident," she said, adding that the IOC was in close contact with the Greek authorities.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday expressed confidence in the way that Greek authorities were handling a triple bomb attack against an Athens police station earlier that morning.
Asked about the attack and security for the Athens Olympics in August, Blair stressed that the Games had to go on as planned, in spite of the bomb attacks.
''Our ministers are in constant contact with Greek authorities and we have absolute confidence in the way they are handling the whole matter,'' he said.
French President Jacques Chirac attended the special event organized by the French Olympic Committee in Paris on Wednesday, in light of the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyanni was also present as guest of honor.
Chirac expressed his complete confidence in Greek authorities concerning the staging of the Games. ''All countries must be alert along with the Greek authorities in whom I have complete trust to convey the message of peace and to ensure the success of this excellent celebration that is the Olympic Games,'' Chirac said.
Bakoyanni, in statements she made to reporters, thanked the French president for the trust he has shown in Greece and Athens. ''I am certain we will prove worthy of his trust,'' she stressed.
Asked about the bomb explosions in Kallithea, Athens, on Wednesday morning, the Athens mayor said that all evidence so far indicates that it was a small incident whose main objective was publicity. ''It's an isolated event that cannot in any way be linked to Olympic Games security. As I have already said, Greece is working closely with NATO and many other countries for Games security. This isolated incident cannot be associated with Games security; it could happen and it happens in a lot of capitals worldwide,'' Bakoyanni said.
Source: Athens News Agency