NEWS

Greek gov’t, opposition condemn gun attack on Israeli embassy

The Greek government condemned on Friday as a “terrorist assault on democracy” a night-time gun attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens that saw the building sprayed with gunfire but no one hurt.

A gunman riding on the back of motorcycle raked the embassy with at least 54 rounds from a Kalashnikov rifle, police said, as it passed the building which sits on the corner of a busy road in the chic northern suburbs of the Greek capital.

Another two people on a second motorcycle were suspected of also taking part in the attack, which happened at 3:20 a.m.

Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who visited the scene, told the ANA news agency, “No one is going to affect the relations between Greece and Israel.”

Relations between the two have warmed considerably recently as tensions have risen between Israel and Turkey, once a close ally of the Jewish state.

“Every terrorist attack is an assault on democracy and the country,” said government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi, who added the Athens was taking “determined steps” against terror groups.

The attack was also condemned by leftist SYRIZA opposition.

“The legitimate struggle of the Palestinians is not promoted with such unacceptable acts, which are opposed by the Greek people,” the party said in a statement.

Anti-terrorist police said first indications pointed to the far-left Popular Fighters group as being responsible. They have been blamed for a series of similar attacks on embassies and the offices of the ruling conservative New Democracy party.

The incident comes two days after a Palestinian official died following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza have been widely condemned in Greece, with many protests held in support of the Palestinians.

Embassies and diplomatic vehicles in Greece have been targeted in attacks by far-left groups in recent years.

The residence of the German ambassador in Athens has been hit twice — with two assault rifles in 2013 and a rocket attack in 1999. No one was hurt.

In 2007, another rocket was fired at the US embassy in Athens without injuring anyone.

All three attacks were claimed by far-left groups, two of which have since been dismantled by the police.

But the Popular Fighters group remains active and its members at large.

[AFP, Kathimerini]