Greek government blames domestic terrorists for U.S. embassy attack

The U.S. Embassy in Athens was attacked early Friday by a rocket that exploded inside the modern glass-fronted building but caused no casualties in an attack police said was probably carried out by a domestic terror group.

Narrowly missing the embassy seal, the small anti-tank missile pierced the building near the front entrance shortly before 6 a.m., damaging a bathroom on the third floor, which houses the ambassador's office, and shattering windows in nearby buildings.

Greece's Public Order Minister said the pre-dawn attack was probably carried out by a domestic terrorist group raising fears of resurgent violence by far-left Greek militants.

Greek officials condemned the attack and said they would move quickly to discover who was responsible for firing the rocket.

"There were no injuries and very minimal damage," U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries told reporters outside the embassy. The rocket struck near his office.

The rocket, which police said was a 2.36-inch (60 millimeter) weapon probably fired from a Russian-made launcher, struck a large marble beam on the third floor of the embassy, just above and to the left of the seal. It then shattered a window and landed near some toilets.

"It is very likely that this is the work of a domestic group," Public order Minister Vyron Polydoras said. "We believe this effort to revive terrorism is deplorable and will not succeed."

He said Greece "strongly condemns" the attack on the heavily guarded three-storey building the first major attack against a U.S. target in Greece in more than a decade, reports AP.

"We believe it is a symbolic act," Polydoras said. "It is an attempt to disrupt our country's international relations."

Polydoras said police were examining the authenticity of phone calls to a private security company claiming responsibility on behalf of a militant left-wing group.

"There are one or two telephone calls, from unknown callers, who claimed that the Revolutionary Struggle assumes responsibility," Polydoras said. "We cannot rule out that they were genuine."

Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for a May 2006 bomb attack on Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, in which nobody was injured.

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