A top prosecutor ordered an investigation Monday into whether recent arson attacks in Greek forests could be considered terrorism, the Public Order Ministry said.
Meanwhile, a fire broke out on the fringes of Athens a day after a massive effort prevented the birthplace of the Olympics from being devastated by flames.
Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who is responsible for prosecuting terrorism and organized crime, ordered the investigation to determine “whether the crimes of arsonists and of arson attacks on forests” could come under Greece’s anti-terrorism law, the ministry said in a statement.
The probe also will seek to establish the identities of the alleged perpetrators.
Could it happen here?
The threat of similar pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in Greece should be a wake-up call.
In 2003 an FBI memo alerted law enforcement agencies that an al-Qaeda terrorist being held in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States.
It was reported that the detainee, who was not identified, said the plan involved three or four people setting wildfires using timed devices in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming that would detonate in forests and grasslands after the operatives had left the country.
“The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies,” the memo said.