The recent reports of two packages containing bombs delivered to top officials of the European Union have the police forces bewildered. Yet again, a terrorist group based in Greece has managed to send explosives via mail, resulting in the injury of an IMF employee and causing turmoil in the police and secret agencies community. The group in question is called Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei
The organization first appeared in 2008, when it placed a bomb at the law firm of former minister of Justice Anastasios Papaligouras. In the following year, 13 more explosive mechanisms were placed in banks and civil services. In 2009, it managed to strike 10 targets within 24 hours, blowing up private companies, multinational enterprises, and placing bombs in the homes of former ministers and the secret services director. By the end of the same year, it had attacked offices of the Orthodox Church of Greece. Moreover, it had explosives placed at the embassies of Chile, Mexico, Russia and Switzerland, international institutions, and sent letter bombs to foreign leaders and entities, such as Eurojust, Europol, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Since then the group has sent out dozens of bomb packages, has attacked politicians, entrepreneurs, policemen, secret services agents, foreign state leaders, political parties and has carried out bank robberies. In some cases it has even engaged in battle with the police. In all these years, the police have managed to arrest at least 14 members of the group, but the most interesting part is the the operational elements of the organization.
The group is divided into small teams, loosely connected with one another, settled in various cities of Greece (such as Athens, Thesaloniki, Volos, Hania etc). Their funding consisted mainly in money “earned” from bank robberies. Their international contacts are based on their affiliation with the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) (in Italian: Federazione Anarchica Informale), an Italian anarchist network.
In general the group prefers the usage of IED’s (explosive or flammable and by using ANFO, TNT, pyrotechnics or flammable liquids) as method of operation, because planting bombs cause a much more “loud” problem for the state and passes the responsibility for the safety of the public to the government. Following each of their attacks, the members are claiming responsibility for their actions either by announcing their hits using an anarchists website named indymedia (it is hosted on a public server) or they send usb sticks with their proclamation to the media.
After each of their attacks, they claim responsibility in a way that every attack or combination of attacks, seems to be a part of bigger project or plan such as projects Nemesis and Phoenix, for which the group claims that is acting in general revolutionary crusade via FAI and individual anarchists all over the globe. Another example was “Project Gorgopotamos,” a plan to attack the prison facilities in the municipality of Korydallos in the city of Piraeus. According to the police, the group was planning to attack the prison during night time. The plan was an idea of Christodoulos Xeros, an ex member of the left-wing terrorist organization “17 of November” who had escaped from prison. The terrorists would attack the prison with an 175 kilo IED, while members of the group would use suppressive fire (they had AK47 rifles) against the armed guards of the corrections service (they are armed with MP5’s and G3’s) and an RPG to destroy police vehicles and the central post of the prison, in order to free imprisoned anarchists and sympathizers. Police officials say that the group has good relations with members of organized crime. Although they do have weapons and capabilities, plans such as the above are not common probably because they don’t want to risk wounds, deaths and arrests of their members.
According to the Hellenic National Intelligence Agency and the Counterterrorism Service of the Hellenic police, these individuals are trying to develop various methods to find weapons. The basic method is through the illegal gun trade and for now one Greek citizen and two Albanian nationals (one couple), have been convicted for illegally providing weapons to the group. Beyond that the group contacted a Finish illegal gun dealer and managed to buy Glock pistols through some offshore companies that the Finish dealer created in order to cover his business. In all these years the police forces have raided numerous safe houses of the group and have also arrested some members during bank robberies. The safe houses are always rented in fake names and the bills have been paid in cash. Aside from the safe houses, the group uses some apartments for storing weapons and equipment (in various cities). In a case, the police have found more than five weapons buried underneath a small park inside a University facility. Until recently the police forces have found:
– 50 kilos of ANFO explosive
– 200 kilos of TNT
– 3 Scorpion submachine guns
– 1 Micro Uzi submachine gun
– 2 pump-action shotguns 12 gauge
– More than 11 AK 47 rifles
– 1 Beretta M92 9mm pistol
– 6 ZASTAVA 9mm pistols
– 1 Springfield 9mm pistol
– 1 Colt King Cobra .357 Magnum revolver
– 1 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver
– 1 Smith & Wesson 0.38 revolver
– 1 Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol
– 5 Glock 9mm pistols
– 2 SMG’s (not branded)
– 1 RPG launcher
– 3 HEAT warheads for the RPG
– More than 10 hand grenades
– mobile phones
– notes on tactics, methods, plans, contacts etc
– 2 bulletproof vests
– Military clothes
– More than 4000 rounds (various calibers)
– Fake ID’s
– 4 silencers
The group is active and seeking popularity and that is the most important thing that drives them to attack foreign targets by sending letter bombs and claiming affiliation with anarchists in many countries. Most if not all, of the members have experience as rioters in the left-wing students movement and espouse radical anarchist theories such as ‘’armed struggle,’’ insurrectionary anarchism etc. They are divided into small cells, using a leaderless structure and they are trying to recruit new members from the far left political groups in the public universities. The exact number, armory, the knowledge and the structure of the organization is not known to the authorities, nevertheless the police believe that the Conspiracy of the Cells of the Fire, is somehow connected with more violent groups such as the Revolutionary Struggle, the Revolutionary Sect and others.