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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Leftist group claims attack on Greek minister

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Thursday, 8 June 2006: 14.05 CET) - A radical Greek leftist group has claimed responsibility for the 30 May bomb attack on Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis, who escaped unharmed.

The left-wing group, Revolutionary Struggle, claimed responsibility for the attack in a letter delivered to the Athens satirical weekly newspaper Pontiki on Thursday.

"Revolutionary Struggle claims responsibility for the attempt using a remote-controlled bomb to execute Voulgarakis," the letter, cited by Greek news agencies, said.

The bomb was triggered by an alarm clock and left on a bicycle detonated outside the Voulgarakis home, causing extensive damage to nearby buildings and cars.

The group staged similar attacks in June and December 2005 on the Labor and Economy Ministries in Athens. Three people were wounded in those attacks, which caused extensive material damage.

Revolutionary Struggle said it was opposed to the neo-liberal economic policies of Greece's conservative government and to the country's participation in the US-led "war on terror".

The leftist group has emerged as Greece's most dangerous urban guerrilla movement since the crackdown on the17 November group shortly before the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Revolutionary Struggle says it intended to assassinate Voulgarakis for his role in two scandals that hurt the centre-right government during his term as public order minister.

The explosion occurred only days after Pakistani immigrants filed charges against the minister for abduction. Some media initially had speculated that there was a connection between the two incidents.

On 12 May, Greek prosecutors filed charges against unidentified suspects in connection with the alleged abduction of 28 Pakistanis in Greece in the wake of the July 2005 bombings in London.

A week later, three of the Pakistani immigrants who claim they had been kidnapped filed a criminal lawsuit against Voulgarakis.

The three men have accused Voulgarakis of instigating the alleged abductions, shielding guilty parties, and lying in parliament about the incident. Fifteen of the 28 Pakistani men who claim they were abducted have filed official complaints.

Voulgarakis was later moved to the Culture Ministry during a government reshuffle that was widely viewed seen as a demotion due to his handling of a phone tapping scandal.
(By ISN Security Watch staff, Greek news agencies)
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