A terror investigation is underway after the German ambassador’s residence in the Greek capital Athens was shot at in the early hours of the morning.
Dozens of rounds from a Kalashnikov assault rifle were fired at the building, hitting the walls and steel gates at the entrance.
No one was hurt and little damage done, but the attack came amid anti-German sentiment during Greece’s prolonged economic crisis.
Berlin is blamed by many Greeks for the devastating austerity measures imposed as part of the all-but-bankrupt country’s EU bailouts. Germany is the biggest single contributing nation to those bailouts.
Police believe the shooting – which occurred at 3.40 am – was the work of leftists. No one has claimed responsibility.
It was condemned by Greek politicians from the left and the right, including the anti-bailout opposition Syriza party.
The Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos called it a “cowardly terrorist act” targeting Greece’s image.
The euronews reporter on the scene, Stamatis Giannisis, said: “The attack on the German ambassador’s residence occurred just 48 hours before Greece is due to take over the presidency of the European Union. It has caused grave concern to some in the government who fear this incident might mark the beginning of new terrorist activity aimed at capitalising on the widespread anti-austerity sentiment among the Greek people.”
German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold – who was at home during the shooting – said whoever was responsible would “not succeed in disrupting the close and friendly relations of our two countries”.
The German ambassador’s residence has been attacked before. In May 1999 members of a terrorist group called ‘November 17’ fired a rocket which hit the building’s roof.