The home of Germany's ambassador to Greece was targeted early Monday by gunmen who riddled the building in Halandri, northeastern Athens, with dozens of rounds from two Kalashnikov assault rifles, causing no injuries but rattling Greek and German government officials.
Police sources told Kathimerini that they suspected Nikos Maziotis, the convicted leader of the Revolutionary Struggle leftist guerrilla group, could be behind the attack. The 42-year-old is believed to be linked to an organization called Group of Popular Rebels which has claimed responsibility for a bloodless Kalashnikov attack on New Democracy's Athens headquarters in January. Police believe the same group may claim Monday's attack.
In Monday's assault, shots were fired at around 3.30 a.m. after four masked assailants approached the house of Ambassador Wolfgang Dold on foot, according to a police officer who witnessed the incident from inside his guard post. The 25-year-old officer said he saw one assailant firing an AK-47 at the facade of the building while the others stood behind him.
According to police, who gathered 60 bullet casings from the scene, two Kalashnikovs were used in the attack. Neither of those guns had been used in previous terrorist attacks, according to the police, who did not confirm reports that two of the bullets had pierced the bedroom wall of one of Dold's daughters.
The four assailants fled on motorcycles, according to the police guard's account of events. Police detained six people for questioning but released them after finding no evidence to link them to the attack.
The incident shocked the government, which, according to sources, had been bracing for an attack against a Greek target, not a foreign one.
Samaras telephoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel and reassured her that Greek authorities would take all possible measures to bring the perpetrators to justice. In a televised address later in the day, Samaras said the “cowardly attack” had meant to harm the country's image. “As Greece progresses, its enemies try to thwart its advance, to hurt its international image, to harm the Greek presidency of Europe which starts in two days,” he said.
Earlier on Monday German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the attack on Dold's residence as “very serious.”
“Nothing, nothing at all can justify an attack against a representative of our country,” he said, adding that the assailants would not succeed in harming Greek-German ties.
There had been no claim of responsibility for the attack by late Monday.