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Athens: Warning or local affair?

Four sophisticated time bombs cause panic in Olympic Capital

Early this morning three bombs exploded in the Kalithea area of Athens causing material damage to police stations exactly 100 days before the opening of the Olympic Games.

A fourth device was found by the Greek security services and was detonated, a policeman being slightly wounded in this incident. The first two explosions occurred within five minutes of one another, the third taking place 30 minutes later. A tip-off had previously been made to a Greek newspaper, warning the authorities of the attack.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has declared to the Press that this is an isolated incident which will in no way affect the security of the Olympic Games. A senior unnamed police official was quoted by the BBC as stating that this is a "local affair" by left-wing groups.

However, the specter of Al Qaeda hanging over the most-viewed event on TV looms in the background, as it will with every event which attracts large numbers of people, since the hallmark of Al Qaeda attacks are destruction on a massive scale.

Talk as to whether the Greek security services are good enough to guarantee the safety of the competitors and visitors is irrelevant, due to the relative simplicity to perform an act of terrorism, if the perpetrator has the money and the equipment to plan and carry out the attack.

The best form of defence is an alert public, who report any unusual activity to the authorities. Another way to approach the problem is to address the basic issues underlying the reasons for Islamist extremism, namely the unwavering support of the United States of America for Israel, which occupies lands that do not belong to it, which builds colonies on these lands, which controls the movements of Palestinians who are the rightful owners of these lands under international law and which responds in kind to acts of murder perpetrated by extremists, descending to the same level.

Certainly, the Palestinians have world public opinion on their side. However, terrorists do not, and never will.

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