Attackers throw explosive at French embassy in Athens: police

November 10, 2016 1:54 AM EST

Forensics experts search for evidence outside the French embassy, where unidentified attackers threw an explosive device causing a small blast, in Athens, Greece, November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


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ATHENS (Reuters) - Attackers on a motorcycle threw an explosive device, possibly a hand grenade, at the French embassy in central Athens early on Thursday, wounding a security guard, police said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack on the building opposite parliament, in one of Athens's best-guarded areas. The attack occurred less than a week before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Greece on Nov. 15-16.

"It was probably a hand grenade," one police official told Reuters. The building was not damaged but one officer there was slightly injured, the official said.

"Greek police will carry out their duty to identify the perpetrators and guarantee the protection of all citizens," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

The attackers were riding a motorcycle, according to footage from security cameras, another police official said.

Small-scale attacks on businesses, police, politicians and embassies are frequent in Greece, with its long history of political violence. Left-wing urban guerrilla groups often claim responsibility.

Greece's finance ministry, also close to parliament, was evacuated on Thursday following a bomb threat which turned to be a hoax, police said.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editijng by Andrew Heavens)



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