World News

Greek police arrest suspected leftist guerrillas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested six people suspected of belonging to one of the country’s most militant guerrilla groups and taking part in bomb attacks, officials said on Sunday.

The arrest of the suspected members of the Revolutionary Struggle appeared to be a major strike against groups which have stepped up attacks against police, public buildings and businesses since riots that paralyzed Athens in December 2008.

“They have been arrested and will be led to the prosecutor on charges of participating in a terrorist organization,” police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis told a news conference.

Kokkalakis said police found a wealth of evidence at the residence of two of those arrested, including a hard disk containing pamphlets claiming attacks by Revolutionary Struggle as well as handwritten texts about past and intended attacks.

Police said in a statement they had arrested six people, revising the number down from media reports of seven arrests.

They raided dozens of suspects’ homes over the weekend, officials said, adding they had not yet found weapons or explosives. They were investigating whether the suspects had taken part in bomb attacks claimed by other guerrilla groups.

On Sunday, about 60 leftists threw stones and plastic bottles at police who raided a home in central Athens. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Revolutionary Struggle emerged in September 2003, about a year after the capture of the urban guerrilla group November 17.

It attempted to kill a minister in 2006 and launched a rocket-propelled grenade against the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2007, causing minor damage and no injuries.

It reappeared weeks the police killing of a teenager in December 2008, claiming responsibility for shooting at riot police guarding the culture ministry which left one wounded.

Greece’s socialist government, elected in an October snap election, has made combating guerrilla groups a priority.

Reporting by Dina Kyriakidou and Renee Maltezou; writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Andrew Roche