|German envoy’s Athens home attacked
The home of Germany's ambassador to Greece was sprayed with a burst of automatic gunfire early today, in a suspected terrorist attack the government said was aimed at hurting the country's image before it takes over the presidency of the European Union. No one was hurt.
Anti-terrorism police cordoned off streets around the official residence of Ambassador Wolfgang Dold following the pre-dawn shooting on a busy road in the Halandri area of the capital. They recovered more than 60 bullet casings from the scene, AP reports.
Six people were briefly detained for questioning and released without charge.
Lead bailout lender Germany is often the subject of strong criticism in Greece, which is suffering through a sixth year of recession and tough austerity measures imposed as a condition of the country's international rescue loans.
Foreign diplomats were repeatedly targeted by far-left terrorist groups active from the mid-1970s but such attacks have been rare since a major police crackdown on radical militants that started more than a decade ago and resulted in multiple arrests and convictions.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his foreign minister telephoned the ambassador following the attack. The government said it was intended to tarnish the country's reputation during its January 1 to June 30 presidency of the EU.
“The Greek government expresses its outrage and outright condemnation of today's cowardly terrorist action which had the only apparent and objective of [damaging] Greece's image abroad ... The perpetrators will soon be brought to justice,'' a Foreign Ministry statement said.