At least 60 shots were fired in the air and four hit the metal
gate of the walled, high-security residence which lies on a busy
street of a northern suburb, police said. No one was hurt.
Anti-German sentiment has grown during Greece's prolonged economic
crisis and many of those struggling with record unemployment and
falling living standards blame Germany's insistence on fiscal rigor
for their economic woes.
Germany is the biggest single contributing nation to Greece's
240-billion-euro bailouts which have kept the country afloat since
2010 and saved it from bankruptcy.
No one has claimed responsibility for the 3.40 a.m. (0140 GMT)
attack which police believe was carried out by members of leftist
guerrilla groups. A police official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said at least two assailants on foot were involved.
"Whoever is responsible for this act: You will not succeed in
disrupting the close and friendly relations of our two countries,"
said German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold, who was at home at the time of
The residence was the target of an attack once before in 1999, when
members of the now dismantled extremist group Nov. 17 fired a
rocket-propelled grenade that hit its roof.
Pictures lampooning German Chancellor Angel Merkel are commonplace
in Athens while groups opposing Greece's bailout frequently protest
outside the German Embassy. Public sector workers pelted a German
diplomat with water bottles and coffee in a protest over austerity
measures last year.
[to top of second column]
Monday's attack drew condemnation from across the political
spectrum, with the anti-bailout opposition Syriza party saying it
undermined Greece's struggle against austerity.
"Who benefits from the attack?" asked Syriza lawmaker Manolis
Glezos, a hero of Greek resistance to the Nazi occupation of World
War Two. "Certainly not the Greek people".
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras telephoned Merkel after the
incident and Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said it was
a "cowardly terrorist act" which targeted Greece's image.
With a reputation for being Europe's problem child, Greece takes
over the European Union presidency for six months from January 1,
hoping to show how far it has come since it almost crashed out of
the euro zone common currency bloc 18 months ago.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou in Athens and Madeleine Chambers in
Berlin; writing by Karolina Tagaris; editing by Janet Lawrence)
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