Blast Damages Buildings in Central Athens: 2 injured

A bomb shattered windows in Athens' central Syntagma Square early Monday, injuring two people, police said. Police said the bomb was apparently hidden in a container on the back of a motorcycle. It exploded shortly after an Athens newspaper received two phone calls warning of such an attack, they said. The caller said the nearby National Economy Ministry, which was not damaged, was the intended target. He did not identify any group behind the explosion.

The bombing coincided with the start of strikes by Greece's largest unions against plans by the conservative government to change labor rules across the public sector.

The square is one of Athens' busiest areas and the center of the city's Christmas and New Year celebrations. Several vehicles were damaged by glass shards, windows in nearby buildings were shattered, and two people were hospitalized with cuts.

Authorities had earlier said they believed the blast had been caused by igniting gas canisters. In June, Greece's Labor Ministry was targeted in an overnight bomb attack, which caused extensive damage to the building but no injuries.

A shadowy group called itself Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for the blast, and said the attack was in opposition to the government's labor reforms, reports the AP. I.L.

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