Greece charges two as 14th parcel bomb surfaces

A Greek judge charged two men with terrorism on Thursday as police announced that a 14th parcel bomb had been dealt with after delivery at the French embassy in Athens.

Last Updated: Nov 04, 2010, 22:36 PM IST

Athens: A Greek judge charged two men with
terrorism on Thursday as police announced that a 14th parcel bomb
had been dealt with after delivery at the French embassy in
Athens.

A court official said that Panayotis Argyrou, 22, a
chemistry student, and Gerassimos Tskalos, 24, had refused to
speak when brought before the judge, saying they did not
recognise the procedure, a court source said.
They were charged with committing acts of terrorism,
belonging to a criminal organisation, possession and use of
bombs and explosives, as well as lesser offences including
refusing to give their identities and fingerprints.

Both were remanded in custody at Korydallos prison
west of Athens.

The pair were arrested Monday as a wave of parcel
bombs was launched, addressed to embassies in the Greek
capital and European leaders and institutions.

The court was told Argyrou and Tskalos were in
possession of two packages, addressed to French President
Nicolas Sarkozy and the Belgian embassy in Athens. They had
just mailed one to the Dutch embassy.
The parcel for Sarkozy was ostensibly sent from the
office of Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos and
contained an ecclesiastical book with a red cover bearing a
gold cross, which had been hollowed out and an explosive
mixture inserted.

Argyrou was wanted by police as a suspected member of
the radical far-left Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, hitherto known
for arson and bomb attacks on government buildings and the
offices and homes of Greek politicians.

Their appearance came as Greek police said they had
intercepted and detonated a package delivered to the French
embassy today after staff became suspicious.

The device was ostensibly sent from the Orthodox
archbishopric of Athens, but explosives had been hidden inside
a hollowed-out copy of the works of 19th century satirical
poet George Souris, police said.

"The French embassy in Athens received a package whose
delivery arrangements appeared suspicious," French foreign
ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in Paris.

"Our embassy contacted the competent Greek
authorities, who immediately launched an inquiry and have just
informed us that they went ahead with the destruction of the
parcel," he told AFP.

Greek police said the embassy had refused the parcel
and sent it back to the delivery company in the southern
Athens suburb of Kallithea.

PTI