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Photo: AFP
Gunfire on Israeli embassy
Photo: AFP
Police: Far-left group likely behind gunfire on Israeli embassy
Minister says attack by People's Fighter Group, which previously targeted German ambassador's residence, will not affect Athens-Jerusalem ties.
Greek police on Friday said a far-left group was likely responsible for an overnight gun attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens, in which the building was hit with gunfire but casualties.

 

 

Two Kalashnikov assault rifles used in the attack had been previously used in a similar attack on the residence of the German ambassador last December by the People's Fighter Group, a police source said.

 

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

 

Bullet-holes in Israeli embassy in Athens (Photo: Reuters)
Bullet-holes in Israeli embassy in Athens (Photo: Reuters)
 

Television footage showed bullet holes on the side of the embassy building. "There were two bursts of gunfire... they must have emptied an entire clip," the attendant of a neighboring gas station told reporters.

 

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

 

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."

 

Israeli embassy compound in Athens (Photo: EPA)
Israeli embassy compound in Athens (Photo: EPA)

 

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 Sophia Voultepsi, who added that Athens was taking "determined steps" against armed terror groups.

 

Embassies and diplomatic vehicles in Greece have been targeted in attacks by far-left groups in recent years. The People's Fighter Group had also fired on the offices of the ruling conservative New Democracy party in January 2013.

 

The residence of the German ambassador in Athens has been hit twice – with two assault rifles in 2013 and a rocket attack in 1999. There were no casualties.

 

In 2007, another rocket was fired at the US embassy in Athens; no one was injured.

 

All three attacks were claimed by far-left groups, two of which have since been dismantled by the police. But the People's Fighter Group remains active and its members at large.

 

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