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Bombs explode outside AFP bureau in Athens, anarchist group claims responsibility

A cameraman films the damaged entrance of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) office in Athens after a bomb exploded on Wednesday causing minor damage but no injuries.Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

A bomb exploded Wednesday at the Agence France-Presse (AFP) office in Athens causing minor damage but no injuries, the international news agency said. An underground group labelled as anarchist by Greek police claimed responsibility.

The bomb, made up of four small gas cannisters, was placed at the front door to the office on the fifth floor of a block in the centre of the Greek capital. It exploded at about 6:00 pm. A fire started but this was quickly put out by firemen and the two AFP correspondents in the office at the time escaped unharmed.

"We heard two small explosions at the office door," said AFP reporter Eleni Koliopoulou. "There were two of us in the office and we were evacuated by the fire department. We are both OK."

Greek government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros "strongly denounced the attack against the AFP premises," and hoped the investigation would bring those responsible to justice. "It is an isolated act which all of society condemns," he added in a statement.

In a telephone call to the Eleftherotypia newspaper on Thursday, an individual who did not identify himself claimed the incident on behalf of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, "in solidarity with our French comrades," police sources said. Such attacks on government buildings and foreign enterprises are frequent in Greece. Police blame most on extreme left-wing and anarchist groups.

“To hold journalists responsible, whatever their nationality, for supposed complicity with a legal decision which they have absolutely nothing to do with, is both stupid and dangerous," Paris-based Reporters sans frontières (RSF) said.

“We were not just targeted as journalists but as journalists with links to France,” said Eleni Coliopoulou, one of the two journalists present in the building at the time. “The reinforced door was completely burnt out. I saw four canisters, which had been set on fire just outside the door. Nothing is working in the office, including the telephones.”

“The building’s lift and electrics have also been affected. It is very easy to get access to the building, anyone can come and go on the fifth floor," she added. “We really didn’t expect anything like this to happen. We are waiting for the results of the investigation," said bureau chief, Philippe Perdriau.

Date posted: December 4, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 1294