Shots fired at Israeli embassy in Athens

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 12, 2014 1:58 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Unidentified assailants opened fire on the Israeli embassy in Athens with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the early hours of Friday, police said, but no injuries or damage were reported.

Four people on two motorcycles fired shots at the embassy building in a northern suburb of Athens, a police official said. Bullets were lodged in the walls and 54 spent bullet cases were found about 40 meters (yards) from the building, police said.

The government condemned the attack saying it was an attempt to create instability at a "tough" moment for the country.

Greece wants to exit an unpopular EU/IMF bailout and has pushed forward a presidential vote in parliament which could trigger snap elections.

"Any terrorist attack hitting at the heart of democracy hits the heart of the country," government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi said.

Police cordoned off the area around the embassy, which has not been a target in other acts of violence in Greece in recent years as an economic crisis raises social and political tensions.

Shots were also fired at the German ambassador's residence in Athens a year ago. Ballistic tests showed that the same weapons were used in both attacks, police said.

A Greek urban guerrilla group, the People's Fighters Group, claimed responsibility in February for the gun attack on the German ambassador's residence.

The same group claimed an attack on the headquarters of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy party.

Bomb and arson attacks that cause little damage and rarely injure are common in Greece, which has a long history of political violence. The attacks have picked up in recent years as the country has imposed austerity cuts to tackle its deepest economic crisis since World War Two.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Editing by Angus MacSwan)