US embassy in Athen's gets hit by an RPG - : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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US embassy in Athen's gets hit by an RPG

ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- The U.S. Embassy in Athens has been hit by a rocket in an attack that anonymous callers claimed was staged by militant left-wing group, authorities said.

U.S. Ambassador in Greece Charles Ries said no one was injured in the explosion on Friday morning. Damage was minimal but it was still being treated as a "very serious attack." (Watch as Charles Ries discusses the embassy blast Video)

Greek Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said Greece "strongly condemns" the attack at about 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on the fortified building, The Associated Press reported. (Map)

"We believe it is a symbolic act," he said. "It is an attempt to disrupt our country's international relations."

He added that police were checking the authenticity of phone calls to a private security firm claiming responsibility of behalf of the Revolutionary Struggle.

The guerrilla group claimed to have carried out an unsuccessful 2006 assassination attempt on Greece's culture minister and has become the most serious domestic threat since the dismantling of the deadly November 17 group in 2002. (Full story)

Police chief Asimakis Golfis was reported by AP as saying the attack was an "act of terrorism. We don't know where from."

"There was a shell that exploded in the toilets of the building ... It was fired from street level," Golfis added.

Greek and U.S. counter-terrorism officials were on Friday scouring the compound's grounds and nearby buildings for clues shortly after the blast. Ries said officials planned to review the embassy's surveillance cameras. (Officials describe blast as "terrorist attack" Video)

Ries told CNN the missile was fired from across a broad avenue. Despite having the embassy set back from the road by more than 20 meters (about 70 feet) "there probably is not a spot that would be so far away that a missile couldn't be fired."

The ambassador was hesitant to specify if the object was a missile or rocket-propelled grenade, citing the investigation was ongoing.

The incident was "a very serious attack," he said, adding that a professional team is collecting debris around the compound, which is being treated as a "crime scene."

"There can be no justification for such a senseless act of violence," Ries said.

The only damage visible from outside the embassy was a window blown out on an upper floor.

Police sealed all entrances and exits to the embassy and cordoned off the block around the compound, causing an almost complete standstill of traffic during the morning rush hour.

Chaos erupted inside the embassy after the explosion, an embassy staff member said.
Student uprising

The heavily guarded embassy in Athens has been the site of protests in the past. It was the target of a rocket-propelled grenade attack in February 1996. That attack caused minor damage.

Greece has suffered a history of domestic terrorism. In the past 30 years five U.S. Embassy staff members have been killed by the elusive November 17 terrorist group, Ries said. (Read about November 17)

The group takes its name from the date of a 1973 student uprising against the military government that ruled Greece at the time. In 1975 Richard Welch, CIA station chief at the U.S. Embassy, was the group's first victim. Its most recent victim, in 2000, was Brig. Stephen Saunders, Britain's senior military attache.

The killers typically leave pamphlets espousing anti-U.S. and anti-European Union ideology.

"Fortunately as a result of a break in 2002 many members of November 17 are behind bars and the frequency of domestic terrorism has gone way, way down," Ries said.

However, authorities do not know if a Greek-affiliated group or individual staged Friday's attack or whether it was launched by a foreign element.

Its apparent successor, Revolutionary Struggle, has also claimed responsibility for attacks and espoused anti-American sentiments.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis have been briefed and, according to Ries, Bakoyannis is willing to provide any assistance needed.

Ries apologized to all Athens residents for the inconvenience.

Journalist Anthee Carassava contributed to this report.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:15 AM
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Re: US embassy in Athen's gets hit by an RPG

I'll have to ask my g/f about this, she has family over in Greece. See if they heard anything else besides what's coming out via the news. Perhaps give us some more insight as to what exactly is happening over there.
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