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Greek Police Search for Killer of Iraqi Immigrant

Amid rising tension over an influx of immigrants in Greece, police are hunting for five suspects in the killing of a 19-year-old Iraqi man who was stabbed to death by a gang on motorcycles as he walked along a downtown street two blocks behind Athens City Hall.
While the attack had the hallmarks of similar assaults blamed on the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn – which has denied any role – police did not say who they suspected. Witnesses told police that the gang had previously tried to assault a Romanian and a Moroccan national shortly before the 4 a.m. attack not far from Omonia Square, which before an ongoing sweep had been filled with immigrants and a high-crime area, including prostitution and drug dealing.
Minister for Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias, who said the country was being “invaded” by immigrants and likened it to when Greece was overrun 3,000 years ago by the Dorians, expressed sympathy and vowed to find the attackers although police – who critics said have links to Golden Dawn – failed to find suspects in other assaults on immigrants. “I declare towards every direction that the state will be ruthless to all perpetrators of criminal acts. I have already asked police officials to accelerate the procedures in order to discover the perpetrators of the murderous attack and to bring them to justice as soon as possible,” Dendias said.
Golden Dawn, which won 18 seats in Parliament on an anti-immigrant platform, has been stoking fears that foreigners are responsible for most of the crime in Greece as it undergoes a crushing economic crisis that has left many people without any income. Some Golden Dawn members have organized vigilante-like patrols and distributing food – to Greeks only – and won the support of many elderly who see them as protectors. Some members of the group also tried to get into a police van carrying a Pakistani national who admitted the brutal beating of a 15-year-old girl on the island of Paros.
The government has sought to blunt Golden Dawn’s rising influence by cracking down on illegal immigration and this month began operation Xenios Zeus – a Greek phrase for hospitality – and rounded up more than 8,000 immigrants. The head of Greece’s border guard union said he expects as many as 15,000 refugees fleeing fighting in Syria may try to enter Greece, through the Evros area which borders Turkey.
(Sources: Athens News, Kathimerini)

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