Greek far-left group claims Golden Dawn killings

Greek far-left group claims Golden Dawn killings

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek far-left group claims Golden Dawn killings

A supporter of the extreme right party of Golden Dawn, lights candles placed in order to form the party's symbol during a memorial ceremony at the site of the attack and fatal shooting of two party members in northern Athens, Nov. 2. AP photo

A previously unknown Greek far-left group claimed responsibility Nov. 16 for the killings of two neo-Nazi Golden Dawn members, saying it was in retaliation for an anti-fascist rapper's murder.

"We, the People's Struggling Revolutionary Powers, claim responsibility for the political executions of the fascist members of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn," the group said in a statement posted on the Greek news portal Zougla.

An anonymous caller gave instructions for finding the tract, which was on a USB memory stick that was placed in a plastic bag and left at a location in the Athens suburb of Kaisariani, the news portal reported.

"The attack was an act of retaliation for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas," the statement said, further accusing Golden Dawn of murdering and beating up migrants and leftists over the past two years.

Golden Dawn members Emmanuel Kapelonis, 22, and Giorgos Foundoulis, 27, were murdered in a Nov. 1 drive-by shooting in an Athens suburb, outside local party offices.

Their murder raised fears of civil unrest, coming on the heels of the Sept. 18 fatal stabbing of street musician Fyssas by a Golden Dawn member.

Last week, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias warned of "the beginning of a spiral of terrorist attacks and a bloody vendetta with insecurity spreading in society."

The government, long accused of turning a blind eye to Golden Dawn's activities, launched a crackdown on the organisation after Fyssas' murder.

So far, six of the party's elected MPs have been charged with belonging to a criminal organisation. Three are in pre-trial detention including party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, who is charged with running a criminal organisation.

Court documents have linked the party to two murders - including that of Fyssas - as well as three attempted murders and numerous assaults. But the two Golden Dawn killings have overshadowed the ongoing criminal investigation.