NEWS

Bomb blast near police HQ fuels concerns

A remote-controlled bomb that exploded outside the central Athens offices of a state property agency late on Thursday night caused minor damage and no injuries but fueled serious concern amid the ranks of the police as the style of the attack is reminiscent of an established terrorist group. The 2-kilogram bomb had been placed in a plastic bag on the sidewalk outside the entrance to the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation (HPREC) which is some 250 yards from Attica’s central police headquarters and close to the Supreme Court building. Detonating at about 9.30 p.m. on Thursday, the bomb destroyed a nearby parked car and caused minor damage to the HPREC’s entrance. The force of the blast shattered some windows of adjacent apartment blocks and startled residents. Police said there had been no warning call while, according to sources, a hoax call was made to police warning of a car bomb in Kolonaki. Forensics were examining the remains of the device yesterday in a bid to trace the perpetrators. Police sources noted that remote-controlled bombs have been used by Revolutionary Struggle, in an attack on former minister Giorgos Voulgarakis in May 2006, and by a group called Popular Will, on a Larissa court house in May 2004. By late yesterday there had been no claim of responsibility for Thursday night’s blast. It was unclear whether the attack had been intended to target only the HPREC, which was implicated in the Vatopedi land exchange scandal, or to also serve as a warning to police whose headquarters are close by. Questioned about the Greek police’s response to an upsurge in domestic terrorism, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said it would «take time and action» before an assessment can be made.