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August 23, 2019

Two arrested over failed armed holdup have records with counter-terror unit

Two suspects arrested in northern Greece on Wednesday in connection with an attempted armed holdup of a money delivery van at Thessaloniki’s AHEPA Hospital have criminal records and are known to the country’s counter-terrorism authorities.

According to initial reports, one of the suspects, aged 40, had been arrested in January 2006 over an armed robbery at a bank on Solonos Street in downtown Athens and was identified as part of a gang that had carried out at least seven bank heists from 2002 to 2006. Nevertheless, the 40-year-old, whose name has not been made public, was convicted only for the Solonos Street robbery and was released from prison a few years ago after serving only a part of his 25-year sentence.

The second suspect arrested on Wednesday, aged 35, had been initially arrested during a crackdown on the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire terrorist group in the Athens suburb of New Smyrni in 2010. He too was released from prison and then re-arrested in 2016 in the Peloponnesian town of Sparta, only to be released again last year.

Police in Thessaloniki have also arrested a 39-year-old woman in connection with the attempted holdup at the hospital, where the suspects allegedly dressed up as doctors to trick the security guards making the money delivery.

Their actions, however, were being watched by counter-terrorism officers, who had the two male suspects under surveillance.

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