Violence fears after Golden Dawn shootings in Athens
The man who survived attack believed to have come face to face with assailants
A police forensics expert searches for evidence outside Golden Dawn offices in a suburb of Athens following a shooting on Friday. Reuters/John Kolesidis
Greek counter-terrorism experts are hoping that a man who survived a drive-by shooting at a branch of the far-right Golden Dawn party in Athens will help shed light on the assailants’ identity.
As supporters of the extremist group held a memorial event on the spot where two of its members were shot dead on Friday, there was growing speculation yesterday that far-left radicals, seeking revenge for the murder of an anti-fascist musician, were behind the attack.
The man, who survived by diving into a building, is believed to have come face to face with the assassins.
“He is our best hope,” one source said. “He’s the one who got a close-up view of them.”
The brazen nature of the attack has sparked fears that with the nation mired in economic crisis and political divisions growing, Greece is being pushed into a cycle of violence.
Manolis Kapelonis (23) and Giorgos Fountoulis (26), described by Golden Dawn as “members of our family”, were shot dead after two men on a motorcycle approached one of the party’s local offices and fired indiscriminately at the building.
A third man, Alexandros Gerontas, was severely injured in the assault. After extensive surgery, doctors said his condition was improving.
Outrage has been voiced by politicians across the spectrum amid concerns that the attack, which lasted 10 seconds and was captured on CCTV, will intensify what has been likened to a civil war between radical factions on the left and right.
Parties that only weeks ago were deploring the neo- fascist Golden Dawn have called it an “attack on democracy”. – (Guardian service)