Authorities in Greece said on Tuesday they dismantled a terrorist organization that was preparing terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in Athens.
Two men of Pakistani origin, who were not named, were arrested. The suspects were charged with terrorism offenses, while a third man believed to be outside Greece has been charged in absentia with similar offenses.
“A terrorist network was dismantled that, with guidance from abroad, was planning strikes against carefully selected targets in Greek territory,” said the announcement by the Greek Intelligence Service (EYP) and anti-terrorist police.
It describes “coordinated” operations in various areas of Greece to dismantle the organization and adds that the two suspects are the “brains” of the terrorist network.
The network “aimed not only at innocent civilians but also at undermining the country’s sense of security, simultaneously damaging its institutions and threatening its international relations”, it says.
Terrorist cell “had chosen Jewish target for attack” in Greece
It claims that the analysis of the seized information and digital data revealed the members of the terrorist network had already chosen a building of “special significance” as the target of the attack.
It adds that the suspects had carried out reconnaissance of the area and the planning of the attack, and they had received final instructions to carry out the strike.
It later emerged that one of the targets was a popular Jewish restaurant in downtown Athens.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday said his country’s intelligence agency Mossad helped Greece prevent a terrorist attack planned against at least one Jewish site in Athens.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office maintained that the attackers were linked to Iran.
“After the start of the investigation of the suspects in Greece, the Mossad rendered intelligence assistance in unraveling the infrastructure, its work methods and the link to Iran,” the statement said.
EYP uncovers Russian spy
EYP, which is under fire in Greece over the spyware scandal, announced earlier in March that it uncovered a Russian spy who, it said, was operating in the country since 2018 in “deep cover”.
According to the National Intelligence Service (EYP), the foreign national named “Irina A. S.” had gained Greek citizenship and an identity card and was working as a photographer. She was also the owner of a handicraft store in Athens. She was living in Pagrati, close to the center of the Greek capital.
The woman was presenting herself as “Maria Tsalla.” The statement by EYP does not say what the nationality of the spy was, but later reports suggest she was Russian and that her real name is Irina Alexandrova Smireva. She returned to her country in January.
Intelligence Service in Greece under fire over spyware scandal
Last week, the spyware scandal in Greece took another turn as the New York Times revealed that a dual U.S.-Greek national working for Meta Platforms Inc. was hacked by the Predator spyware for around one year.
The Predator spyware was central to the Greek wiretapping scandal, sometimes called the Greek Watergate.
This was a prolonged and en masse monitoring of the mobile phones of individuals prominent in the Greek political scene, including the president of the social democratic party, PASOK, Nikos Androulakis, the journalists Thanassis Koukakis and Stavros Michaloudis, as well as members of the government and close affiliates of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, among others.
The Greek government has denied using Predator and has legislated against the use of spyware, which it has called “illegal.”
See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!