Greece says embassy attack won’t affect Greek-Israeli ties

Greece insisted on Friday that it would not be deterred from pursuing closer ties with Israel after gunmen opened fire on the Israeli Embassy in Athens, an attack that police believe was carried out by urban guerrillas calling themselves the Popular Fighters Group.

“Nobody can disrupt relations between Greece and Israel,” said Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who visited the scene of the shooting early on Friday. Kikilias met with a number of Israeli security officials during a visit to the country last month. Since then, there has been an increase in the number of Israeli security personnel visiting Greece with the aim of implementing the cooperation agreements agreed during Kikilias’s visit.

The raid took place at just after 3 a.m. on Friday. Police believe that four men in a car stopped across the road from the embassy, located on the corner of Kifissias and Katehaki avenues. Two fired AK-47s at the building, one served as a lookout while the other waited in the car, according to officers.

A total of 56 bullet casings were recovered from the scene. There were two policemen guarding the embassy but both were in their guardposts when the attacked occurred. One of the two was not able to see the assailants from his position. Nobody was injured.

Police believe the attack was carried out by the Popular Fighters Group, which emerged last year when it claimed that its members fired bullets from a Kalashnikov assault rifle at New Democracy’s headquarters in January. The group also claimed a similar attack on the German ambassador’s residence on December 30. Nobody was hurt in either attack.

Ballistic tests on the bullets recovered on Friday confirmed that they were fired from the same AK-47s used in the attack on the ambassador’s home, police said.