Heavy weaponry found in ruins of Thessaloniki apartment explosion in which Kurdish national was killed

A 32-year-old Kurdish national killed in a handgrenade explosion in an apartment in Thessaloniki on Tuesday night was believed to have been connected with armed Kurdish organisations, after the discovery of a cache of heavy weaponry in the basement apartment in Triandria, Thessaloniki police said on Thursday.

The man had submitted an application for political asylum in March 2010 in Athens, and had been living in Thessaloniki since April that same year.

A search of the ruins of the apartment turned up heavy weaponry and explosives, which are being scrutinised by police.

The weaponry, which was hidden in a secret compartment in the apartment's kitchen, included an eastern- made anti-tank weapon armed with a 64mm M80 shell, a Kalashnikov submachine gun with four rounds, a Scorpion submachine gun, an AK machine gun, an older model machine gun, ammunition of various diameters, 14 handgrenade detonators, six handgrenades, two anti-personnel mines and five kilos of an unidentified powder believed to be dynamite.

The investigation has been undertaken by police counter-terrorism officers from Athens, and is believed to be a very serious case. Indicative is the fact that Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Wednesday night called an emergency meeting with the heads of the Greek Police (ELAS) and National Intelligence Service (EYP).

Counter-terrorism police are also examining a prospective connection with a 42-year-old Turkish woman arrested in early July in Thessaloniki, who is believed to be a member of the European division of the Revolutionary Popular Party (DHKP-C), which is outlawed in Turkey. The woman was arrested on a warrant by the German authorities.

Earlier in the week the Greek Supreme Court (Areios Paghos) ruled in favor of the woman's extradition to Germany on condition that she is not extradited to Turkey or any other country.

The woman, who has petitioned for asylum in Greece, is being held at the Diavaton prison in Thessaloniki until a ruling on her asylum request.

The explosion occurred shortly after 11:00 on Tuesday night in a basement apartment of a three-storey building in Triandria, and the dismembered body of the Kurd was found in the ruins.

Police later said that the explosion came from a handgrenade that the man had possibly been examining at the time.

The explosion caused damage to neighboring buildings and construction sites, as well as to cars parked in the vicinity.

The other residents of the apartment building have been banned from entering the damaged building and are being temporarily hosted by friends and relatives. After completion of the police investigation, the structure will be examined by building inspectors before the residents are allowed to return.

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