Car bomb explodes outside Bank of Greece – LA Times
Car bomb explodes outside Bank of Greece
ATHENS, Greece — Suspected domestic terrorists exploded a car bomb outside a Bank of Greece building in the heart of Athens Thursday, causing harm but no injuries in a brazen attack hours before a landmark bond issue by the financially fighting country.
No group claimed responsibility for the six a.m. (0300GMT) explosion, which shattered windows in the central bank branch and buildings up to two hundred meters away, and left the charred remnants of a car with only two wheels still recognizable.
The attack hit a largely commercial zone with a large shopping mall and banks, a few blocks from the Greek parliament. It came one day ahead of a visit to Athens by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the largest single contributor to Greece’s bailout program.
Police said two anonymous calls — to a news website and a newspaper — gave a 45-minute warning. Apart from a duo of security guards, nobody else was in the instant area, which police swiftly cordoned off.
Forensic experts began combing through the blast site, while gaggles of office workers incapable to get to their offices gathered in nearby cafes.
An officer said the size and composition of the bomb were still unclear, and the anti-terrorism squad was taking over the case. He spoke on condition of anonymity, as the investigation is still at a very early stage.
The news website that received one of the anonymous calls at Five:11 a.m. local time (0211 GMT) said the caller warned a bomb containing seventy five kilograms (165 pounds) of explosives had been planted in a car.
The attack comes as Greece comes back to borrowing on the international bond market. The country announced Wednesday it was issuing a five-year bond, its very first since it became locked out of international markets in 2010.
The government has hailed the come back to the bond market as proof that the country is emerging from its deep financial crisis.
“The evident target of the attackers is to switch this pic, and switch the agenda,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on an early morning television news showcase. “We will not permit the attackers to achieve their aim.”
Since 2010, Greece has relied on funds from an international bailout, in comeback for which it has imposed deeply resented spending cuts, tax hikes and labor market reforms. Greece’s economy has shrunk by a quarter, while unemployment hovers at twenty eight percent.
Greece has a long history of domestic militant groups who plant usually petite bombs late at night that infrequently cause injuries. Albeit the country’s deadliest terrorist group, November 17, was eradicated and its members jailed in the early 2000s, several newer groups are still active.