Greece condemns gun attack on Israeli embassy

Shots were also fired at the German ambassador’s residence in Athens last year. (File photo: Reuters)

The Greek government condemned on Friday as a “terrorist assault on democracy” a night-time gun attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens that saw the building sprayed with gunfire but no one hurt.

A gunman riding on the back of motorcycle raked the embassy with at least 54 rounds from a Kalashnikov rifle, police said, as it passed the embassy, which sits on the corner of a busy road in the chic northern suburbs of the Greek capital.

Another two people on a second motorcycle were suspected of also taking part in the attack, which happened at 3:20 am (0120 GMT).

Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who visited the scene, told the Ana news agency, “No one is going to affect the relations between Greece and Israel.”

Relations between the two have warmed considerably recently as tensions have risen between Israel and Turkey, once a close ally of the Jewish state.

“Every terrorist attack is an assault on democracy and the country,” said government spokeswoman Sophia Voultepsi, who added the Athens was taking “determined steps” against terror groups.

Anti-terrorist police said first indications pointed to the far-left People’s Fighter group as being responsible. They have been blamed for a series of similar attacks on embassies and the offices of the ruling conservative New Democracy party.

The incident comes two days after a Palestinian official died following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza have been widely condemned in Greece, with many protests held in support of the Palestinians.

Embassies and diplomatic vehicles in Greece have been targeted in attacks by far-left groups in recent years.

The residence of the German ambassador in Athens has been hit twice -- with two assault rifles in 2013 and a rocket attack in 1999. No one was hurt.

In 2007, another rocket was fired at the US embassy in Athens without injuring anyone.

All three attacks were claimed by far-left groups, two of which have since been dismantled by the police.

But the People’s Fighter group remains active and its members at large.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44