Official: Terrorist Bomb Intended for British Consulate
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A terrorist bomb that killed seven people earlier this month was meant for the British consulate but exploded prematurely, the minister of public order said Saturday.
Minister Yiannis Vassiliades also announced that six Palestinian students were arrested in connection with the April 19 blast in Patras, a port city about 110 miles northwest of Athens.
Vassiliades described the suspects as members of ″a purely Palestinian organization from beginning to end. It was making bombs that it had plans to use against various targets in Greece,″ the minister said.
He said the six will be charged in ″the next few days,″ but he did not specify the charges.
He also did not say why the consulate was believed to be the target.
The British consulate is 300 yards from the courier office where the explosion occurred. Six Greeks were killed in the office and police say the seventh victim, Ahmed Al Hashikeh, a 26-year-old Palestinian student at Patras University, was carrying the 26-pound bomb.
Police said a search of his dormitory room led to the discovery of an address book that led to another 26-year-old Palestinian student, Assar Al Nobani.
Palestine Liberation Organization officials located Nobani, a student in the northern city of Salonica, and turned him over to Greek police on Tuesday. The other Palestinian suspects were arrested later.
In addition to the six Palestinians, police arrested a Greek woman who is believed to have been Hashikeh’s girlfriend.
Police sources, who asked not to be named, said a search of a Salonica apartment Friday turned up AK-47 assault rifles, remote-controlled detonators and explosives.
Vassiliades refused to comment on arms cache, but the sources said police in Patras found two 24-pound bombs.
One other Palestinian arrested in the Patras attack has been identified by police.
Authorities allege 29-year-old Jehad Al Zeer was involved in a 1985 hand grenade attack in Salonica against Palestinian students belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Syrian-based PLO faction.