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Spy games in the Aegean

23 November 2015 / 17:11:55  GRReporter
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In the days after the terrorist attacks in Paris Greece has become a "theatre of actions" of foreign secret services, reads the Greek edition Ethnos, citing high-ranking Greek officers.

According to the publication, the services started to act after the revelation that one of the attackers, Ahmad Almohamad, was registered as a new arrival in Europe on the island of Leros in early October. The newspaper cites sources of the Greek authorities, who state that the "spy games" are taking place on two levels. They define as a "Pyrrhic victory" the results of the extraordinary meeting of the EU interior ministers last Friday. According to them, the initial text of the agreement was particularly negative for Greece but the security measures adopted in the end were more moderate.

During the past week, the informal information channels of the secret service started to operate at full speed. According to the article authors, the foreign services used as a "Trojan horse" the migration and refugee influx and the argument that Greece is finding it difficult to register all new arrivals. The sources of Ethnos claim that foreign secret service units have arrived in the Greek islands, which are pressing their Greek colleagues to provide them with data and information on "suspects".

The publication indicates that French secret agents who are involved in the investigations arrived in Greece last week. There is also evidence of an enhanced presence of foreign services in Greece in the coming weeks.

Photo: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

Greek officials comment that three specific cases in connection with the attacks in Paris are being constantly recalled, not by accident. "The martial law is in force in Germany, Belgium and France, where the army is on the streets. Within this context, efforts are being made to impose the presence of foreign secret services in Greece. But our services, which are responsible for preventing asymmetric threats, are fully responding to their task," said a senior police officer.

The backstage actions are backed by the arguments that organizer of attacks in Paris Abdelhamid Abaaund is allegedly staying in Athens. According to unclassified information of the US national security NSA, the European secret services have warned that Abaaund is hiding in the Greek capital. A representative of the Greek services, however, denies before Ethnos the existence of such information from the NSA, recalling that the Greek security forces were closely following the jihadist core, which is considered the organizer of the attacks in Brussels earlier this year.

At the same time, the Greek police are seriously concerned over the likely changes in the Schengen agreement and the intention to close the borders of the Balkan countries. Police representatives believe that "if the borders of European countries are closed or the terms in the Schengen agreement are changed, it will be highly probable for Greece to become a ‘black box’," as thousands of refugees and migrants will be blocked in the country, the risk of their radicalization thus being significantly increased.

The office for combating terrorism and the National Intelligence Service will remain in a state of highest readiness on the islands and in Athens, where the ferries with refugees are arriving. No organized extreme Islamist elements have been detected so far, who can become fighters or members of networks that support jihadists, except for some "harmless" suspects such as the two persons who were apprehended in Kos last week.

The decision of the Macedonian authorities to restrict the border crossing for refugees has already resulted in a bigger temporary camp near the village of Idomeni. "If the situation does not change and becomes permanent, large parts of the migrant influx will remain in Greece. Some of these people may become easy victims of the proponents of Islamic State. The danger of radicalization will be here," stress the sources of Ethnos.

Tags: PolicyForeign secret servicesAegean islandsJihadistsOffice for combating terrorismGreek intelligence service
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