Huge bomb defused in Kifissia

A powerful car bomb abandoned outside the offices of Citibank in a northern suburb of Athens early yesterday, and destroyed by police before it could detonate, bears the hallmark of the terror group Revolutionary Struggle, police sources told Kathimerini. Both the scale of the attempted attack – the bomb contained 60 kilos of ammonium nitrate – and the explosives used led police to make the connection with Revolutionary Struggle. The group, best known for a rocket attack on the US Embassy in January 2007, also claimed responsibility for an attempted attack last October outside the offices of Royal Dutch Shell in Palaio Faliron, where 3 kilograms of dynamite failed to go off. Police were sent to the offices of Citibank in Kifissia shortly after 4 a.m. yesterday after a guard called to report a suspicious vehicle being abandoned in the car park of the building by three people. The explosives, which had been attached to a timer, were powerful enough to bring down the entire four-story building if they had detonated, police spokesman Panayiotis Stathis said. Police sources told Kathimerini yesterday that there might have been a problem in the connection of the explosives to the timer. Otherwise, the sources said, the perpetrators could have made a mistake in the bomb’s chemical mix – one also used by ETA, the IRA and Palestinian militants. Yesterday’s attack occurred just a few hours before a prominent criminologist was violently beaten by a large gang of youths while giving a speech in an Athens University auditorium. Yiannis Panousis was set upon by a group of around 50 youths who entered the auditorium, where he had been lecturing on the social integration of former convicts, and attacked him with iron bars and other weapons. Panousis, who sustained bruises to his face and arm injuries, was taken to a hospital but released later. It is thought that the attack was a reaction to recent statements by Panousis criticizing rioters in December.

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