Explosives found at suspected Greek militant hideout

ATHENS Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:28pm EDT

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police found 195 kg (429 lb) of explosives on Saturday at the hideout of a suspected member of the country's most militant guerrilla group, Revolutionary Struggle, who was detained earlier this week.

Police said they had found the stash of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in a garage registered to a name found on a false identification card seized in raids last week that led to the arrest of six suspected members of the group.

"It is a quite big quantity," police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis told Reuters. "It could have brought down a 6-storey apartment block."

Police said the explosive was the same type used in a bomb claimed by Revolutionary Struggle that seriously damaged the Athens Stock Exchange last year.

Prosecutors have charged the six with participating in bomb attacks, participating in a terrorist group, attempted murder, and other crimes. The accused have denied any wrongdoing.

The arrests followed a surge in bomb blasts this year across Athens, which has a history of attacks from left-wing guerrillas that have killed more than a score of people, including diplomats, businessmen and politicians in the past four decades.

Since coming to power in October, the socialist government has made combating guerrillas a priority. The arrests were seen as a victory at a time when the government has had to implement tough austerity measures to fight a growing economic crisis.

Revolutionary Struggle emerged in 2003 after police captured deadly urban guerrilla group November 17. It is best known for firing a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. embassy in Athens in 2007. It also tried to kill a minister in 2006.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Writing by Michael Winfrey; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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