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Hand-grenade thrown at Russian Consulate in Athens, police suspects leftish groups

Two people on a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the police booth outside the Russian Consulate in Athens on Friday morning.

“Last night, two strangers, riding by the consulate of the Russian Embassy on a bike, threw an explosive device at a police booth located near the consulate… Minor damage has been inflicted,” the Russian Embassy told news agency sputnik.

Police sent a bomb disposal team to the consulate after cameras showed two people on a motorbike throwing a small object at 3:20 Friday morning at the fence beside the consulate’s security guard post.

No security guard was at the post at the time, nobody was injured.

Police cordoned off the area around the consulate, located in Chalandri suburb of north Athens.

Greece’s counter-terrorism police are investigating the attack.

Authorities were examining a motorbike found partially burned in Exarchia district in central Athens.

Greece has a long history of small groups that periodically attack symbols of state authority, wealth or foreign diplomacy. They usually plant small explosive devices that don’t cause injuries.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, police officials told associatedpress that they suspect the attack was carried out by a leftist militant group called the Popular Fighters Group, which had claimed responsibility for a bombing against the offices of a television station and newspaper in December.

Authorities were also investigating whether other active militant groups might have been behind Friday’s attack.

The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the attack, which it said would not affect “the traditional and inherently long-term friendly relations … with Russia.” A thorough investigation would be carried out to catch the perpetrators, the statement added.

In a conversation with sputnik, Foreign Minister Yorgos Katrugalos categorically condemned the attack on the Russian consulate, saying:.

“Greece is a safe country. But here, as in all countries of the world, there are some unacceptable attacks, like the one that occurred in the Russian consulate this morning. We contacted the Russian embassy and announced the most obvious and categorical condemnation of these events. We said that the necessary measures will be taken (by) the police so that such unacceptable incidents will not be repeated. We also reaffirmed in this context very friendly relations between the two countries.”

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