Greek Police Arrest Alleged Member of Far-Left Terror Group After Attempted Bank Robbery

A man walks past a graffiti bearing the symbol of anarchism, an A for Anarchy in a circle, on March 17, 2017 in the Greek capital, Athens. Greek authorities on March 17, 2017 were trying to determine how a near-defunct militant group was able to sneak at least two parcel …

A 48-year-old man, wanted for the last year and a half by Greek police for membership in a far-left terrorist group, was arrested as he allegedly attempted to flee the site of a bank robbery.

Dimitris Hatzivassiliadis was arrested in Thessaloniki on Monday and was found driving a stolen car and in possession of a Kalashnikov-style rifle, a knife, a radio, and money allegedly corresponding to that missing from the bank.

The 48-year-old already had a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly participating in another bank robbery in October 2019, where he had managed to escape police custody despite having accidentally injured himself in the leg with a Kalashnikov rifle.

According to a report from the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Hatzivassiliadis and two other alleged accomplices to the October 2019 incident were said to be members of the Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense, a far-left terrorist group that operated from 2014 until Green authorities dismantled it in November 2019.

Over the years the group was active in Greece, it took responsibility for several attacks against political party headquarters and foreign embassies.

In November 2016, the group threw a hand grenade outside the French embassy complex in Athens, which exploded, injuring a police officer.

Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense later took credit for the French embassy attack and a shooting of the Mexican embassy, also in Athens.

Militant far-left extremism remains a major security issue in Greece. Earlier this year, at least 100 attacks were linked to the far-left extremist supporters of convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas.

Koufontinas, who had been on hunger strike earlier this year, is currently serving 11 life sentences for 11 murders he committed as the hitman for the Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) between 1975 and 2000.

Last month, leftist militants in Thessaloniki threatened local police officers publishing their names and addresses online and stating: “Now each of them individually can feel what it is like to be afraid to go home alone. Count the steps with your breath. Now each of them, individually, can be faced with their share of responsibility.”

“When we say we are at war, we mean it. We respond to violence with violence. The headhunt has begun,” the militants added.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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