Greek letter bombs
On Wednesday March 15th, German police intercepted a letter bomb addressed to the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
The following day, another parcel bomb exploded at the IMF Europe Office based in Paris, this time injuring a secretary in the building, who was lightly injured by shrapnel and suffered a damaged eardrum from the noise.
Following on from this, the departing Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem was also targeted, though this bomb was intercepted in Athens and safely disarmed, along with seven other parcel bombs. The identity of the targets for these bombs has not been disclosed but it is presumed that, along with the earlier parcels, they target European finance officials, either those involved at a state level or working for international bodies.
A Greek anarchist group known as the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (AKA the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire or more simply as the SPF) has claimed responsibility for the parcel sent to Mr. Schäuble, though they have yet to comment on the other bombs.
The SPF first emerged with attacks in January 2008, fire-bombing law firms, banks, insurance companies and cars. The attacks were centred in Athens and the surrounding Attica region. Since then, they have undertaken a number of bombing and incendiary device attacks, mostly at targets located in Athens and predominantly focused on international institutions and offices in the city.
The SPF are often characterised as an anarchist group, which is a fair approximation of their beliefs. However, unlike other anarchist groups who frequently adopt left-wing ideologies, the SPF espouses an insurrectionist and individualist form of anarchism that rejects class struggle and other collective categories, instead promoting a nihilistic world-view that sees violence against the state as a form of self-actualisation. That said, they have affirmed through online communiques their opposition to capitalist society and the promotion of individual liberation through urban guerilla warfare.
The Greek police have not yet confirmed the involvement of the SPF, but the choice of targets and method of attack strongly suggest their involvement. The quality of the IMF Paris bomb has been described as “relatively rudimentary” and resembling a “firework or big cracker” by Michel Cadot of the French police. It is not clear at this stage whether this was a measure undertaken to circumvent normal screening procedures for packages, or indicative of a decline of skill among the bomb-maker(s) of the SPF.
Government, international and private agencies involved in the Greek bailout should continue to exercise caution in the near future.
Marc Simms is an occasional blogger for Proelium Law LLP. Marc holds a MLitt in Terrorism Studies and a Masters in International Relations, both from St Andrews. His particular interests are in emerging international security issues, unconventional warfare and terrorism.
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