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3 face terror charges for arson attack on Greek Church group

February 9, 2022 GMT

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A Greek prosecutor on Wednesday brought terrorism charges against three people accused of participation in an arson attack by an extremist anarchist group against an Orthodox Christian religious society in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

The suspects, two men aged 35 and a 20-year-old woman, all Greek citizens, were arrested Tuesday shortly after the attack with an incendiary device that damaged the entrance of the building but caused no injuries.

All three were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization, carrying out a terrorist act with use of explosives, as well as endangering life, damaging property and arson.

A police statement said they allegedly belonged to a group named Organization Anarchist Action that had been involved in several similar attacks since 2016. It said a search of the suspects’ homes revealed a handgun and ammunition, police and first aid services clothing and insignia, flammable chemicals, a handbook on making incendiary devices and stolen identity cards.

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Small extremist anarchist groups have proliferated in Greece in recent decades, typically using small incendiary devices to attack symbols of authority or wealth. The country has a long history of far-left political violence, which peaked with a series of killings between 1975-2000 by the November 17 group, which was eradicated in 2002.