:rolleyes: By Lisa Orkin
ATHENS, Greece May 6 AP - Security forces in Athenswere today searching for witnesses to a bomb attack thatraised fears of a terrorist strike during the Olympicsand left Greek officials reassessing security plans.
The planned security measures are dynamic and notstatic, meaning that they are adjusted every time thereis an event,'' said defence Minister SpiliosSpiliotopoulos at a conference on regional affairs. The triple blasts early yesterday caused no injuries,but damaged a police station in Kalithea, an Athenssuburb. No group or individual claimed responsibility. Suspicion, however, immediately fell on local groups,including self-styled anarchists and other extremistswho frequently carry out firebombings and other attacksagainst a variety of targets including police. Police insisted the attack had no link to the August13-29 Olympics, but it occurred on the 100-day countdownto the beginning of the games. The bombing was carried out with sticks of dynamiterigged with alarm clocks that exploded within a 30minute span. The area is not near any key Olympic sitesor hotels. Premier Costas Caramanlis called the bombing anisolated incident which does not affect whatsoever thesafety of the Olympic preparation’’.
Meanwhile, top anti-terrorist agents questionedpossible witnesses and looked into possible links withprevious attacks.
In September, similar timed blasts damaged a judicialcomplex in Athens and injured one police officer. Thetwin bombings, spaced 20 minutes apart, were claimed bya group calling itself Revolutionary Struggle. Noarrests were made.
In February, a group using the names of the Olympicmascots, Phevos and Athena, claimed responsibility forfirebombing two Environment Ministry trucks during IOCmeetings in Athens.
A proclamation in March using the name RevolutionaryStruggle claimed responsibility for planting a bomboutside an Athens branch office of the US-basedCitibank. The bomb, hidden in a backpack, was destroyedby police. Again, no arrests were made.
Greece is spending about one billion euros ($A1.67billion) on security and has enlisted the help of NATO.
A seven nation advisory group, led by the UnitedStates and Britain, is also helping Athens plan for anypossible terrorist threats.
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said ithad taken out a $US170 million ($A233 million) insurancepolicy to protect against the Athens Games being calledoff because of war, terrorism or natural disasters. Theunprecedented policy is to guarantee that the IOC andits affiliated bodies have enough money to continueoperations in the event of a cancellation.
Authorities claim they crippled the most dangerousdomestic terrorist threat with the convictions last yearof 19 members of the group November 17, blamed for 23killings and dozens of other attacks since 1975.
On Monday, the IOC is schedule to begin its finalreview of Athens’ preparations, beset by constructiondelays and other glitches.
Top Greek security officials, meanwhile, were inWashington for talks on measures to protect the Olympics- the first Summer Games since the September 11, 2001attacks on the United States.
Obviously, we're concerned about any bombings thatoccurred,'' said US State Department spokesman RichardBoucher. But at this point, the Greek authorities areinvestigating the bombings. So I don’t have a lot ofinformation on that one.’’
:rolleyes: By Lisa Orkin
ATHENS, May 7 (AFP) - The International OlympicCommittee will take a fresh look at security measuresfor the Athens Games, a senior IOC official said Friday,after a string of explosions in the Greek capital thatraised fears for the Games’ security across the world.
We'll obviously discuss security,'' IOC executivedirector Gilbert Felli told AFP, ahead of an IOC visitto Athens on May 10-12. The IOC delegation is due to arrive in Athens for itslast, official inspection visit ahead of the August13-29 Games. The visit is scheduled to focus onunfinished construction work at the main Olympiccomplex, including the stadium roof. :o Three separate dynamite sticks weighing around 200-300grams each went off in the :o backyard of a police station :o in Athens early Wednesday. Several windows were broken and no one was injured. :o Greek police were investigating radical leftist groups as the most likely perpetrators. But the IOC said Wednesday that there was no reason tobelieve that the bomb attacks were linked to theOlympics. The Athens Games, the first summer Olympics to be heldsince the September 11, 2001 attacks, will open amid unprecedented security,with NATO finalising a plan to provide air and seasurveillance. Felli seemed to be resisting calls to allow teams tobring their own armed guards for protection in Athens --a move Greeks oppose. The situation was very clear,’‘he said.
But measures applying specifically to each countrycould be taken into account and discussed on thesidelines of a big conference on the Games’ securitytaking place late May, Felli added.
Police from more than 40 countries as well as sponsorsand delegations from all the 202 National OlympicCommittees participating in the Games, will take part inthe conference.
Felli expressed his confidence the Olympic roof’sconstruction would soon be completed. The roof’s twogiant, separate arches have not yet started slidingacross a 60-metre-distance into their final place abovethe stadium.
The operation, the key part of the construction, isexpected to last several days.
The sliding could beginSunday, most probably Monday,'' a source close to theroof's Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava toldAFP. I’d prefer they were already in place,’’ he said,adding: ``I hope the IOC will have a nice surprise onMonday.’’
The rest of the preparations, notably construction ofthe marathon course and the Games’ main football venuewas on schedule, as agreed between the IOC and Greece’snew govenment in March, Felli said.