Bomb blast at Athens headquarters of Skai media group

A man looks out from a broken window after a bomb blast outside the Greek Skai TV building in Athens. (Reuters)
Updated 17 December 2018
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Bomb blast at Athens headquarters of Skai media group

  • Attacks targeting broadcasting groups, public companies or embassies have been frequent in Greece in recent years
  • The coalition government led by leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras condemned the blast as an attack on democracy

ATHENS: A bomb blast early Monday damaged a building in Athens housing the headquarters of Greece’s private radio and television network Skai, but there were no casualties, police said.
Anti-terrorist police opened an investigation into the attack that focused on Greek extremist groups.
Attacks targeting broadcasting groups, public companies or embassies have been frequent in Greece in recent years, and have been blamed on anarchist or far-left groups.
The coalition government led by leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras condemned the blast as “an attack on democracy” while his administration decried an act of “terrorism.”
In a statement, Tsipras slammed what he termed “an attack on democracy by cowardly and dark forces,” vowing that “they will not realize their goal of terrorizing and disorientating.”
He further offered his “sincere support to journalists and all those who work at the station” targeted.
The homemade device went off at around 2:30am (0030 GMT), 45 minutes after an anonymous telephone warning to another TV network.
Police cordoned off the neighborhood in the Athens suburb of Neo Phaliro and evacuated the building, which contains the offices of Skai, a group owned by the Alafouzos shipping family, as well as those of Kathimerini, a center-right daily critical of the government.
Police said the bomb was placed in a narrow street near a fence around the building and smashed windows on the facade.
Skai said in a statement the blast caused “major damage.”
“The terrorist attack will not discourage us,” it said, accusing the government of failing to do enough to protect the media despite “recurrent threats against the station.”
Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos rejected the accusation.
The minister for civil protection, Olga Gerovassili, visited the site with police.
“Democracy is not threatened,” she said, while warning against those who “leave the way open to terrorism or fascism.”
There were no claims of responsibility by late afternoon but some analysts said the bombing bore the hallmarks of an attack by the far left Popular Fighters Group (OLA).
It has previously claimed to be behind at least five other similar blasts, none causing fatalities, since its formation in 2013.
The group last claimed a bombing outside the Athens Court of Appeal in December 2017, which caused extensive material damage.
Last month, police defused a bomb outside the Athens home of a controversial prosecutor following two anonymous telephoned warnings to the media.


Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

Updated 18 January 2019
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Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

  • A magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and one woman for 30 days while investigations continue
  • Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid Abdihakim — who holds Canadian citizenship — is being probed over suspicious communication

NAIROBI: Five suspects, including a Canadian citizen, appeared in a Kenyan court Friday in connection with a militant attack on a Nairobi hotel complex that left 21 dead.
A magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and one woman for 30 days while investigations continue.
The suspects are accused of “possible involvement in the almost 20-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and office complex by a suicide bomber and four gunmen who were all killed by security forces,” a court document said.
“The investigations into this matter are complex and transnational and would therefore require sufficient time and resources to uncover the entire criminal syndicate,” a statement from Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Hajji said.
A total of 11 suspects were arrested after Tuesday’s attack, however investigations into the others were still ongoing.
Those who appeared in court include Joel Ng’ang’a Wainaina, a taxi driver who ferried the attackers around on several occasions, and Oliver Kanyango Muthee, a taxi driver who drove one of the assailants to the scene of the attack.
Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid Abdihakim — who holds Canadian citizenship — is being probed over suspicious communication.
The other suspect Osman Ibrahim is alleged to have met with one of the attackers on January 8.
Two suspects yet to appear in court, Ali Salim Gichunge and Violet Kemunto Omwoyo possessed SIM cards that were in “constant communication” with numbers in Somalia, court documents revealed.
The attack was claimed by Somali militant group Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda which has repeatedly targeted Kenya over the presence of its troops in Somalia.
In 2013 an attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi left 67 dead, while in 2015 Shabab killed 148 people at a university in Garissa, eastern Kenya.