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Anarchists called terror threat at Athens Olympics

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004< /FONT>

ATHENS Greece and its allies expect an attack by anarchist groups on the 2004 Olympic Games later this year.

Greek officials said Western intelligence services have determined that anarchist groups have been cooperating in gathering information and exchanging resources for plans to attack the games in August. The counter-insurgency divisions of several intelligence agencies met in the Hague to discuss assessments of attacks in European Union states.

"We have an absolute need for an exchange of information between our services and to monitor and control the movements of these persons because the Olympic Games due to take place in August could be the target of anarchists," Greece's counter-terrorism service director Stylianos Syros said.



Syros, who participated in the Hague session, told the Republica daily that Greece was receiving cooperation from counter-insurgency services of EU states. The Hague meeting was attended by Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Anarchists arrived in Greece in June 2003 in an attempt to disrupt an EU summit in the northern Greece port of Thessaloniki.

Earlier, Greece was warned that Al Qaida and related groups could be targeting the Olympics as well. Officials said Al Qaida was believed to have been planning to infiltrate agents into Greece under the guise of illegal immigrants.

In Washington, Greek Public Order Minister George Floridis has completed a two-day visit to discuss security cooperation with the United States.

Floridis met National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA director George Tenet and other senior administration officials to discuss security at the Olympic Games in Athens in August 2004. The meeting included Greece's National Intelligence Service chief Loukas Apostolidis.

Floridis said an Olympics security exercise between Greece and the United States would proceed in March. Earlier, Greece had scheduled the exercise in February, during the parliamentary campaign.

"The exercise will take place as scheduled," Floridis said. "It is currently in the planning stage and progressing very well."

Officials said the security exercise was unprecedented in size. They said it would include simulation and actual forces and take place from March 10 to 23. This would follow the swearing-in of the government that would emerge from the March 7 general elections in Greece.

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