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Attackers fire rocket at U.S. embassy in Athens

January 12, 2007

Attackers fire rocket at U.S. embassy in Athens

By Karolos Grohmann

ATHENS (Reuters) - Attackers fired a rocket at the U.S. embassy in Athens on Friday but no one was hurt, police and the U.S. embassy said. 

Greek anti-terrorist officers were on the scene. 

"This was a rocket attack launched from a building across the street. It landed inside a toilet on the third floor of the embassy," a senior police official told Reuters. 

"There are no injuries from the blast," a U.S. embassy spokesman said. 

The senior police official said Greece's deputy police chief and Athens police chief had gone into the building together with officers of the national security and anti-terrorist squads. 

Dozens of police cars surrounded the embassy and police cordoned off all roads in the area, including a major boulevard in front of the mission. 

The tightly guarded U.S. mission is surrounded by a 9-feet-high steel fence. Guards are posted at every entrance and at street corners around it. 

Local residents called in to state television saying they had felt the explosion, which shattered some windows. 

Greece's biggest domestic security threat, the leftist November 17 guerrilla group, which had in the past killed U.S. and other foreign diplomats in Greece, was dismantled in 2002. 

In November last year, Greek riot police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators marching to the U.S. embassy in Athens who chanted slogans including "Bush the butcher, out of Iraq" and "The USA is the real terrorist". 

In February 1996, unidentified assailants fired a rocket at the U.S. embassy compound in Athens, causing minor damage to three diplomatic vehicles and some surrounding buildings. 

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