Greek police arrest 2 suspected terrorists

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Associated Press

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Updated Saturday, Feb 2 at 6:36 PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Four suspects, including two members of a domestic terrorist group, have been arrested in Greece for alleged robbery, police said Saturday.

Yannis Michailidis, 24, and Dimitris Politis, 21, are suspected members of the anarchist group Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, police said. They each have three arrest warrants on them from 2011 and 2012.

A third suspect, Nikos Romanos, 20, became well-known in December 2008 when his close friend, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was fatally shot by a police officer after a verbal altercation in the central Athens. Grigoropoulos' death sparked days of riots and afterward a new generation of armed anarchist groups emerged. The police officer, Epaminondas Korkoneas, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The four suspects were arrested shortly after a bank and a post office branch were robbed in the village of Velvendo, near the northern Greek city of Kozani, on Friday. Police released the four suspects' photos and urged citizens knowing anything about them to call a special hotline.

Four other suspects were being sought.

Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire has claimed responsibility for several bombings, including attacks on the homes of two former ministers and a ministry, all of which caused no injuries. The militant group also has claimed responsibility for a series of mail bombings in 2010 targeting embassies and European officials, including an attempted attack on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office in Berlin.

More than 20 of the group's members have been arrested and some convicted and sentenced. Eighteen of them are currently on trial for the mail bombings and other actions. A group member, Tassos Theofilou, was arrested in August for a bank robbery on the island of Paros during which a taxi driver who confronted them was shot and killed.

In Friday's robberies the eight men, armed with sledgehammers and weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles and a submachine gun, broke into the bank and post office, took €175,000 ($240,000) from the bank and €4,000 ($5,500) from the post office, then hijacked one vehicle while escaping, police said.

Four of the suspects were caught by police.

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Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki.

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