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Greek police destroy car bomb

Greek police yesterday destroyed a powerful car bomb left outside the offices of Citibank in a northern Athens suburb.

A guard at the offices called police after seeing the car being abandoned, and the bomb squad destroyed the device shortly in the morning, police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis said. A police statement later said that at least three people were seen leaving the car with their faces covered.

The time bomb consisted of five 10-liter to 12-liter propane gas canisters that had been emptied and then filled with an ammonium nitrate fuel oil explosive mixture, police said. It was attached to two mechanical clocks, batteries and detonators.

Hours earlier, gunmen opened fire and threw a suspected bomb in the parking lot of Alter television station. The bomb failed to explode and nobody was injured in the shooting, but the attack shows that Greek militant groups are expanding their targets.

Ballistics tests on the bullet casings showed that the weapons used were the same as those used in a similar attack against an Athens police station two weeks ago, police said yesterday.

That attack, which also caused no injuries, was claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself Sect of Revolutionaries. The gunmen had used a submachine gun and a 9mm pistol to spray the precinct with bullets. In their statement claiming responsibility, they had vowed to expand their targets to include journalists and politicians, among others.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either the shooting or for yesterday's attempted bombing.

Athens has seen a spate of attacks by domestic far-left extremists in the past two months. The majority have been aimed at police. The groups have issued claims of responsibility stating the attacks were to avenge the death of a 15-year-old boy shot dead by a policeman in December. The boy's killing sparked the country's worst riots in decades.

The statement by Sect of Revolutionaries was left on the teen's grave.

Greece has faced targeted attacks by domestic terrorist groups for decades. But authorities had indicated that they believed the problem had diminished after the arrest of several members of the country's deadliest group onNovember 17. That group killed 23 people in nearly three decades of targeted bombings and shootings.


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