Greek weapons cache not linked to guerrillas-police


ATHENS: Greek police said on Sunday that a cache of weapons found in apartments in Athens this weekend did not match guns used in recent attacks by leftist guerrilla groups.
Police raided 16 houses across Greece, detained 17 people and arrested four men on Saturday, two days before the anniversary of the worst riots in decades, sparked by the police killing of a teenager on December 6, 2008.
Seven handguns, three machine guns, boxes of bullets, grenades, explosives and other weapons were confiscated during the raids in Athens. But ballistic tests showed the guns seized were not the ones used in attacks by guerrilla groups.
“The 13 guns found so far are not linked to terrorism activity. The investigation continues and the findings are being tested,” police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis told Reuters.
Another police official said the type of weapons pointed to the Conspiracy of Fire Cells group or the Rebel Sect, who have been responsible for a series of attacks in recent years including the killing of a policeman and a journalist.
Greece has a decades-long history of leftist violence but some groups have sprung up or become more active after the 2008 riots which paralysed Athens for weeks and attracted global media attention.
Investors will be watching this week whether protests on the anniversary of the 2008 riots will turn violent, as the Socialist government struggles with a severe debt crisis that has shaken the euro zone.
The Socialists have vowed to crack down on leftist guerrilla groups. More than 20 suspected urban guerrilla members have been arrested this year, but analysts say the groups’ loose structure makes them hard to eradicate.
The Rebel Sect emerged in February 2009 in a gun and grenade attack on an Athens police station. It gunnded down a policeman in June 2009 and a journalist in July this year.
The Conspiracy of Fire Cells initially staged arson attacks but turned to bombings in 2009. They claimed a wave of parcel bombs addressed to foreign governments and embassies last month.