Car bomb outside central bank bears similarities to previous explosions

Police investigating a powerful car bomb that detonated outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens on Thursday, causing damage but no serious injuries, have drawn parallels between the attack and previous hits claimed by the leftist guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle, Kathimerini understands.

According to sources, the symbolism of the target, the methodology and the type of explosive used – ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (known as ANFO) – are all hallmarks of the group.

The blast, which was clearly timed to precede Greece’s first return to international bond markets after four years, occurred just before 6 a.m. when a vehicle containing 74 kilograms of ANFO detonated outside the headquarters of the country’s central bank on Amerikis Street. The force of the blast damaged some of the bank’s offices, blew out the windows of adjacent buildings and left two security guards with minor injuries.

An anonymous caller had telephoned two warning calls, to a newspaper and a news website, about 45 minutes earlier.

There had been no claim of responsibility for the blast by late on Wednesday night but counterterrorism officers were said to be seriously probing the possible involvement of Nikos Maziotis, the leader of Revolutionary Struggle who has been at large since July 2012 after violating the terms of his conditional release.

Police were also examining the accounts of witnesses including a security guard from a nearby department store who said he saw a man wearing a helmet parking a Nissan Sunny in front of the bank’s side entrance and walking toward a motorcycle where an accomplice collected him and drove off. The motorcycle was a Yamaha without license plates while a police search showed the Nissan was stolen in Kaisariani last Saturday.

Commenting after the blast, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told Skai that authorities “will not permit terrorism to set the agenda in our country.” However he conceded that policing might need to be stepped up in the city center. “A change in planning might be necessary,” he said.