More foreign embassies in Athens received letter bombs on Tuesday following similar incidents a day prior, reaching a total of nine confirmed originating in Greece in two days.
On Nov. 2, Russia’s Embassy in Athens received mail bombs as did the diplomatic missions of Bulgaria and Chile. The previous day, letters addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy were sent from Greece.
Russian officials said that some elements of explosive devices were found after a letter caught fire while going through the security system. A similar story was reported by the Swiss Embassy.
On Monday, overall, four letter bombs were found in Athens and the three were intended for Belgian, Dutch, and Mexican embassies.
German police reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office had received mail containing explosives and shipped from Greece. The package was disabled while Merkel was visiting Belgium.
One of the letters intended for the Mexican Embassy exploded, injuring a delivery worker and prompting Greek authorities to scour the city for more parcel bombs.So far, Greece’s counterterrorism unit has brought in two men for questioning, 22 and 24, in connection with the bombs, reported Greek newspaper the Kathimerini. They were wearing bulletproof vests and carrying handguns and a bag containing letter bombs addressed to French President Nicholas Sarkozy and the Belgium Embassy, according to the report.
The two men are reportedly members of the anarchist group, Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire (SPF) that has been responsible for bombings and arson attacks in the past.
Some analysts say that the letter bombs might be related to the unrest that has plagued the Greek government this year in reaction to its extreme austerity measures designed to tackle an out of control deficit. Nevertheless, the letter bombs are seen as going beyond what authorities could have imagined.
“The incidents in Greece seem less like terrorist attacks and more like guerrilla attacks. … [They] are directed against government forces, including military targets,” said Max Abrahms, an expert on terrorism with Dickey Center for International Understanding.
He said that the current incidents were likely to be the work of domestic groups, not international terrorists such as al-Qaeda, but it was not clear why they did it.
“Most terrorist and guerrilla incidents are actually by domestic groups. The motive at this time, beyond anger at the government, is not entirely clear,” Abrahms stated.
The Sect of Revolutionaries, one suspected guerilla group, has over the last several years claimed responsibility for killing a policeman and a journalist, as well as threatening to carry out other attacks against police and reporters.