NEWS

Large bomb strikes branch of McDonald’s

A time bomb that exploded outside a branch of McDonald's in the central Athens district of Ambelokipi early yesterday, causing extensive damage to the premises of the fast-food outlet and to a tax office located above but no injuries, was yesterday attributed by police to the terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle. There had been no claim of responsibility for the blast by late yesterday but police said the «force and methodology» of the blast pointed to the group, which bombed a branch of the US conglomerate Citibank in March and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the US Embassy in January 2007, both bloodless attacks. After the Citibank hit in the affluent northern district of Filothei, Revolutionary Struggle had issued a proclamation, warning of more attacks using timer-controlled explosive devices. Yesterday's bomb which, according to initial reports, comprised 2 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, had been placed under a ramp for wheelchair access outside the fast-food outlet. It detonated shortly after 4.30 a.m., half an hour after an anonymous caller had alerted two mass-circulation newspapers about the impending explosion. The blast destroyed a large section of the restaurant, which had been empty at the time, and a tax office on the first floor, showering the sidewalk with broken glass and rubble. Police spokesman Panayiotis Stathis said it was clear that the US retail chain had been the intended target. «The McDonald's restaurant was definitely the target... the warning call also named the restaurant,» Stathis said. Officers yesterday did not rule out the possibility of the attack being planned to coincide with America's Independence Day on July 4. One well-informed police source told Kathimerini that the McDonald's bomb might have been placed to distract police so that terrorists can plan a larger, more spectacular attack in the near future. Asked yesterday about a possible connection between Revolutionary Struggle and the relatively new Sect of Revolutionaries, which claimed last month's fatal ambush of a witness protection officer in Athens, police did not make any clear links but referred to a «common command center» that is believed to be guiding a «new generation» of Greek terrorists.

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