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Cablegate: Greece: 2009 Country Reports On Terrorism

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTH #1707 3500948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 160948Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1232
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS ATHENS 001707

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC EFIN KCRM KHLS PINS PREL AEMR GR
SUBJECT: GREECE: 2009 COUNTRY REPORTS ON TERRORISM

REF: STATE 109980

1. Embassy Athens submits the draft below for the Greece section of
the 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism.

Begin text:

2. Greece and the United States have a strong record of
counterterrorism cooperation. Domestic terrorism and extremist
violence increased significantly in 2009, following large-scale
rioting in December 2008. In the first nine months of 2009, there
were over 330 security incidents (defined to include incendiary and
explosive attacks, as well as attacks involving small arms,
grenades, and other infantry-style weaponry), far more than have
been recorded in each of the previous ten years. Local extremists
increasingly targeted businesses and Greek law enforcement, and
there was an increasing use of infantry-style weaponry in terrorist
attacks.

3. The leftist domestic terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle (RS)
claimed responsibility for shooting police officers and bombing
financial targets, including U.S.-affiliated banks and the Athens
Stock Exchange, which was targeted in an ammonium nitrate car bomb
attack on September 2. A previously unknown group, Sect of
Revolutionaries, emerged during the year to claim responsibility
for attacks on police and other targets, including the only such
lethal attack during the year: the murder of a police officer on
protective detail outside the apartment building of a government
witness in Athens June 17. Unknown assailants attacked the Aghia
Paraskevi police station in suburban Athens with AK-47s on October
27, seriously wounding six officers and a civilian.

4. The appeals of eight convicted members of the November 17 (N17)
terrorist organization went before the Supreme Court in October,
with a decision expected in 2010. Prosecutors urged the court to
sustain the convictions, but recommendation consideration of
reduced sentences for two of the convicts. On December 3 an
appeals court threw out the convictions of three members of the
People's Revolutionary Struggle (ELA) terrorist organization, who
had initially been sentenced in 2004 to 25 years each for the 1994
murder of a police officer, 48 attempted murders by bombing, and 42
bomb attacks and attempted bombings, though they had been released
for health reasons and on other grounds pending appeal in separate
decisions in 2005 and 2006. For further information on RS and N17,
see Chapter 6, Terrorist Organizations.

5. Throughout the year, self-styled anarchists attacked banks,
police stations, the homes and offices of politicians, and other
"imperialist-capitalist" targets with tools such as firebombs and
Molotov cocktails. Since these attacks usually occurred outside
normal business hours, few persons were seriously injured and there
were no deaths. Several U.S. businesses were targeted. On January
3, a rock-throwing group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators caused
some physical damage to the U.S. Embassy during a protest against
the Israeli operation in Gaza.

6. Greece is a major EU entry point for illegal immigrants coming
from the Middle East and South Asia, and it could be used as a
transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United
States. The number of illegal immigrants entering Greece,
especially through the Aegean Sea, increased dramatically in 2008
and 2009, with over 100,000 illegal immigrants, nearly half of whom
originated from North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia,
arrested each year. Greek authorities participated in the
Container Security Initiative and cooperated with U.S. officials on
information sharing, as well as the training of Greek security and
customs officials, and judicial personnel. Greece sustained its
participation in the International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan by providing engineers and other support officers.

End text.

7. Embassy Athens POC is Alan Purcell, PurcellAS@state.gov.
Speckhard

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