Police official says blast at U.S. Embassy in Athens was 'act of terrorism'


Police officers close the avenue around the U.S. Embassy in Athens early Friday after an explosion inside the embassy compound.

AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 12, 2007 at 12:19 a.m.

ATHENS, Greece - Police cordoned off streets around the U.S. Embassy in Athens early Friday after an explosion inside the embassy compound that a senior police official said was an "act of terrorism."

The blast smashed glass in the front of the building near the U.S. emblem of the embassy. Police did not report any injuries and embassy officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

"This is an act of terrorism. We don't know where from," Attica Police Chief Asimakis Golfis said. "There was a shell that exploded in the toilets of the building ... It was fired from street level."

Authorities were searching apartment buildings and a hospital nearby.

"I heard a loud bang; I didn't realize what was going on," said Giorgos Yiannoulis, who runs a kiosk near the embassy.

Traffic came to a standstill across parts of central Athens, as police and emergency services scrambled to the embassy building.

The U.S. Embassy - a heavily guarded building - is a frequent destination for protest groups but American officials have not been targeted in more than a decade.

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