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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Explosion near Culture minister's home

  • [01] Explosion near Culture minister's home

    A strong explosion occurred early Tuesday at the foot of Lycabettus Hill in central Athens, near culture minister George Voulgarakis' home, and police believe the minister was the target of the home-made explosive device, but there was no previous warning of the explosion nor has any group claimed responsibility as at noon. Afterwards, Voulgarakis revealed that he has received a barrage of threats, adding "I have been targetted".

    The explosion, at 7:42 a.m. on the corner of Doxapatri and Sarantapichou streets, just 200 meters from Voulgarakis' apartment, was due to a home-made bomb placed in a travel satchet that the perpetrators had hung on a bicycle they placed between two parked cars, a senior police official told ANA-MPA.

    Parked exactly across the street, at the time of the explosion, was a car belonging to the bomb-disposal squad (TEEM), as two TEEM officers with a trained sniffer dog were checking the parked cars in the area, as they do every morning, just minutes before the minister was due to pass by the spot.

    Police told ANA-MPA they believed that Voulgarakis was the target, given that the minister was due to pass by the spot three minutes after the explosion occured.

    It was as yet unknown how the bomb was detonated, since the explosion destroyed the entire mechanism and remnants have not been found, but bomb-disposal experts said that, given the strength of the explosive material, which was equal to about 2 kilograms of ammonia dynamite, it was very likely that the device was detonated by remote control.

    Also, according to the TEEM officers, a car was approaching the spot when the bomb went off, and police believe this could have misled the perpetrators who possibly thought that the approaching car was an escort for the minister's car, thus causing them to detonate the explosive device earlier.

    The strong explosion causes extensive damage to the two cars between which the bicycle had been placed, the TEEM car, and to other cars parked along the curb, while debris from the cars was hurled at least 10 meters away, breaking the windows of a nearby school, which was empty at the time.

    Shortly afterwards, Voulgarakis said that "every bomb, in a period of democracy, is targetted against democracy itself, and not against specific individuals".

    He added that he had "complete confidence" in the police force, who "have great abilities".

    The minister noted that there has been a barrage of threats against him throughout this time, "which has climaxed".

    "I have been targetted," Voulgarakis said.

    The area around the explosion site has been cordoned off, and traffic was being detoured, as bomb disposal experts and counter-terrorism police were collecting evidence and investigating the incident.

    Attica Police chief Asimakis Golfis and counter-terrorism squad officers also rushed to the site.


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