Greece: Shots outside home of German ambassador

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ATHENS, Greece – The home of Germany’s ambassador to Greece was sprayed with gunfire from automatic weapons early Monday, in a suspected terrorist attack the government said was aimed at hurting the country’s image before it takes over the presidency of the European Union.

Police investigate a street outside the residence of German Ambassador to Athens Wolfgang Dold, in the northern suburb of Halandri, Greece, on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Police in Greece said the home of Germany's ambassador was sprayed with gunfire from automatic weapons in an overnight attack that caused no injuries.

No one was hurt.

Anti-terrorism police cordoned off streets around the official residence of Ambassador Wolfgang Dold following the pre-dawn shooting on a busy road in the Halandri area of the capital. They recovered more than 60 bullet casings from the scene.

No group has claimed responsibility for attack. Six people were briefly detained for questioning and released without charge while investigators were examining video from surveillance cameras as well as a stolen car found near the scene of the shooting, police said.

Lead bailout lender Germany is often the subject of strong criticism in Greece, which is suffering through a sixth year of recession and tough austerity measures imposed as a condition of the country’s international rescue loans.

Foreign diplomats were repeatedly targeted by far-left terrorist groups active from the mid-1970s but such attacks have been rare since a major police crackdown on radical militants that started more than a decade ago and resulted in multiple arrests and convictions.

The same building had been targeted in a 1999 attack using an improvised rocket launcher that also resulted in no injuries and was claimed by the November 17 terrorist group.

On Monday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his foreign minister telephoned the ambassador following the attack. The government said it was intended to tarnish the country’s reputation during its Jan. 1-June 30 presidency of the EU.

“The Greek government expresses its outrage and outright condemnation of today’s cowardly terrorist action which had the only apparent and objective of (damaging) Greece’s image abroad … The perpetrators will soon be brought to justice,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

- The Associated Press

Organizations: EU, Foreign Ministry, The Associated Press

Geographic location: Greece, Halandri, Germany

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