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EUR: Greek police report series of firebomb attacks

13 Feb 2009 3:36 AM

ATHENS, Greece, Feb 12 AP - A group of suspected anarchists carried out a dozen firebomb attacks in Athens on Thursday, targeting the home of Greece's top anti-terrorism prosecutor and the offices of a judge, a leading criminologist and the Communist Party's official newspaper, authorities said.

Police said an elderly resident of one of the targeted buildings was slightly injured after she got scared and jumped off her balcony, falling one story. The attacks caused minor damage, police said.

Most of the attacks were carried out in daylight, in a brazen departure from the arsonists' usual pattern of nighttime strikes.

There was no claim of responsibility but the homemade incendiary devices are generally used by small Greek anarchist groups that frequently set fire to symbols of state authority, banks and cars.

Police said a device made of camping gas canisters bound to a can of gasoline exploded about 6.30am local time outside the southern Athens home of Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who is responsible for prosecuting terrorism and organised crime.

A similar incendiary bomb exploded just after midday outside the apartment of prosecutor Vassilis Foukas in the same area. Foukas was the prosecutor at the appeal trial of Greece's deadliest terrorist group, November 17.

A third device exploded shortly afterwards outside the central Athens office of lawyer Stavros Georgiou, who represented the families of November 17 victims at the trial - which ended in 2007 with judges upholding convictions for 13 group members.

The far-left group is blamed for 23 killings and numerous bombings in Athens between 1975 and 2002.

Later on Thursday, arsonists used gas canister bombs against the offices of opposition Socialist deputy Theodore Pangalos - a former Foreign Minister - his daughter, who is a lawyer, leading criminologist and Athens University professor Yiannis Panoussis and the Rizospastis daily, which is owned by the Greek Communist Party.

Overnight, arsonists using the same type of incendiary device to set fire to a journalist's car, two bank ATMs, a post office, a bank branch and a job agency.

A host of small anarchist groups has claimed responsibility for scores of arson attacks in recent years against targets including ministry buildings, offices of political parties, state cars, banks, foreign car dealerships and newspapers.

In several cases, anarchists expressed solidarity with the November 17 terrorists. Arrests are extremely rare.

Attacks have increased after December's fatal police shooting of an Athens teenager - which sparked the country's worst riots in decades. An increase in shooting attacks on police targets have been claimed by extreme left militant groups.