French embassy attack injured police officer

2016-11-10 19:15
The security booth at the entrance to the French embassy in central Athens, after two motorcyclists threw a hand grenade and injured the guard. (Louisa Gouliamaki, AFP)

The security booth at the entrance to the French embassy in central Athens, after two motorcyclists threw a hand grenade and injured the guard. (Louisa Gouliamaki, AFP)

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Athens - Assailants on a motorcycle threw a grenade at the French embassy in Athens Thursday, slighting wounding a police officer on duty, police said.

Greece's anti-terrorism police are investigating the attack, which happened at around 05:00 (03:00GMT) on one of the city's main avenues and opposite parliament.

They recovered a pin suggesting a shrapnel-firing defensive grenade, a police source said.

Police are working on the theory that the attack was staged by local anarchists, who regularly carry out acts of violence against diplomatic missions.

Investigators have also not ruled out a link to the rise of the extreme right in France, following the congratulatory message by National Front leader Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump on his US election victory.

French ambassador Christophe Chantepy said his staff were in close contact with Greek police and called on French nationals to remain calmly vigilant.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos condemned the attack, insisting that "friendly relations between Greece and France cannot be influenced in the least by such terrorist acts."

The grenade left a tennis ball-sized hole in the pavement, and shrapnel marks on the embassy gate and guard box.

"Given the minor damage, it is likely a symbolic attack," a police source told AFP.

The officer added that police are inspecting for possible links a stolen motorcycle found a few kilometres away from the attack in Exarchia, a district popular with anarchists.

The injured police officer was taken to hospital where he received treatment for leg injuries.

Reports said he had barely enough time to take shelter in the bullet-proof box as the grenade exploded.

Read more on:    france  |  greece  |  security

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