Greek government has set up a special police team headed by a former counter-terrorism chief to investigate the attack. The US ambassador said the damage was minimal but described the incident as “very serous”.
The blast happened at the corner of the Avenue of Queen Sofia and a smaller street, in front of the Embassy at 6 am local time. A leftist Greek organization has claimed responsibility for the attack on the US Embassy in Athens.
Charles Reis, US Ambassador to Greece: “The embassy was hit by some attack from outside. There can be no justification for such a senseless act of violence.”
Police say the explosion was caused by an anti-tank shell fired from the street. The shell struck the third floor, and shattered glass in nearby buildings. No casualties have been reported.
Byron Polydoras, Greek Public Order Minister said: “There was a telephone call, one or two anonymous phone calls which claim the Revolutionary Struggle was behind the attack. They called the embassy security company.”
The US Embassy is one of the most heavily-guarded in the Greek capital. The building is surrounded by a 3-metre steel fence with guards posted at every entrance and on street corners.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanni has condemned the attack and said such acts harm the international image of the country: “Acts like these have cost dearly in the past – politically, economically and to the international status of the country. The Greek government is determined to make every effort as it has done successfully in the past for such acts not to take place.”
The incident raises fears of resurgent violence by far-left Greek militants, since the dismantling of the deadly November 17 terrorist group five years ago.
Greek authorities said it was an attempt to damage the country's international relations.