With Obama Due, Athens’ French Embassy Attack Causes Red Alert

A policeman checks the damages on the police guard booth outside the French Embassy in Athens. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – A hand grenade tossed at the French Embassy near Greece’s Parliament has raised the security alert ahead of US President Barack Obama’s Nov. 15-16 visit.

Foreign diplomatic missions have already filed requests for extra security, while French officials have asked the Interior Ministry to provide security to French business interests and organizations, the newspaper Kathimerini said.

One policeman, standing guard outside the French Embassy, was injured when unknown assailants threw a hand grenade.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack but the newspaper said police are trying to determine whether it was linked to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese militant who is serving a 32-year jail sentence in France for the murder of two diplomats in the 1980s.

Texts in support of his release were posted online over the last two weeks by members of the Revolutionary Struggle and Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban terror groups.

Greece has scores of terrorist groups operating while the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA is said to be riddled with anarchist elements and terrorist sympathizers.

The government called the attack terrorism and said it would hunt down the perpetrators as Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Nikos Toskas led an emergency meeting with senior police officials to guard potential targets in downtown Athens.

Representatives of American security companies met with senior officials at the headquarters of the Greek Police, the newspaper said as reports indicated 300-500 US Secret Service agents will help oversee security during Obama’s visit.