Five neo-Nazis arrested in Greece over attacks
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Five neo-Nazis arrested in Greece over attacks

Counter-terrorism police detain young suspects as as part of crackdown on far-right groups accused of attacking migrants and left-wing activists

People walk walk in Athens' main commercial street on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)
People walk walk in Athens' main commercial street on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)

ATHENS — Five Greek men have been arrested by counter-terrorism police as part of a crackdown on far-right groups accused of attacking migrants and left-wing activists, Greek police said on Tuesday.

The five young suspects are accused of “participating in a criminal organization” and carrying out arson attacks and using explosives, officers said in a statement.

A police source had earlier reported six arrests in the Athens area and in the northwestern city of Ioannina.

During searches, investigators seized 50 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used as an explosive, knuckledusters and other weapons, and “books, pamphlets and symbols of the extreme-right.”

A police source said the suspects “belong to the neo-Nazi movement” in Greece.

According to Greek media, the five men are members of Combat 18-Hellas, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist group.

Combat 18 was a far-right group that began in Britain and later spread to other countries. The group’s name is based on Adolf Hitler’s initials — the first and eighth letters of the alphabet.

Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party, remains the fourth largest in the Greek parliament.

A total of 70 Golden Dawn lawmakers and party officials are on trial on a wide range of charges, including membership of a criminal organization linked to the fatal stabbing of an anti-fascist rapper in 2013.

Far-right attacks have increased in Greece in recent months against left-wing activists and migrants.

In February, five people were injured after a group of eight people attacked an anti-fascist center in the Greek port of Piraeus.

The center was also attacked last August, and four people were arrested by the counter-terrorism unit in January.

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