Police were on Tuesday seeking leads to the perpetrators of a bomb blast outside the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in central Athens in the early hours of the morning that caused significant damage but no injuries.
The bomb, which had been placed in a backpack, was triggered by a timer at 3.35 a.m. An anonymous caller had telephoned two newspapers about 40 minutes in advance to warn of the blast.
Police bomb disposal experts and counterterrorism officers were dispatched to the scene and cordoned off Xenofontos Street where SEV’s premises are located. A nearby hotel was evacuated and street kiosk managers alerted.
The blast caused serious damage to the premises of SEV and the Cypriot Embassy, which is located directly opposite the federation’s offices. It also blew out windows from other adjacent buildings and caused damage to a gas station on the same street.
Police sources would not determine the composition of the bomb but unconfirmed reports suggested it comprised 3 kilograms of gelatin dynamite, a powerful explosive.
Police gave no hint about the identity of the perpetrators but were studying footage from surveillance cameras in the area.
Some witnesses said they saw two people approaching the entrance to SEV and dropping a bag there.
There had been no claim of responsibility for the explosion by late on Tuesday.
Speculation was rife about whether the attack was carried out by members of existing guerrilla groups – such as Revolutionary Struggle or Group of Popular Fighters – or by a new group.
The blast drew condemnation across the political spectrum. Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili underlined the need for the “absolute condemnation of such acts, especially at this time, without dangerous interpretations.”
Conservative New Democracy called on the government to “intensify its efforts to find the perpetrators,” noting that “such acts harm the country’s image and the true interests of the Greeks.”