ATHENS – The homemade bomb that exploded outside a church in Greece’s Capital, the latest in an uptick in apparent terrorist activities, was made up of of two containers with flammable liquid, wires and a clock, the state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported.
The device went off outside Aghios Dionysios church in the upscale Kolonaki neighborhood, a hangout for politicians and the rich, adjacent to the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia, the opposite sides of Greek life side-by-side.
New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for zero tolerance of violence, in a tweet condemning the explosion.
The main oppostion leader said that “a bomb outside a church in a densely populated commercial street of Athens is a ‘blind hit’ against citizens.” He added, “It was a blessing there were no casualties. Unfortunately the sense of insecurity is becoming unprecedented as long as the government does not understand the need for zero tolerance to violence.”
Police sources cited by the news agency said the explosion, which injured a policeman and a church employee, was small although a police officer who examined the package suffered injuries to his hands and face when it went off but not not seriously hurt, reports said, although both victims were hospitalized.
A church employee who first noticed the device inside a metallic box was also hurt. He had notified police, the police’s special guards union, Stavros Mavroidakos said, adding that unlike the bomb that went off outside SKAI TV on Dec. 17 there was no warning call nor immediate claim of responsibility.
A priest from Aghios Dionysios told Skai a holiday service was planned later in the morning when there would have been more people there. Anti-terrorist police cordoned off the area during an investigation.
Police said the blast occurred at around 7 a.m. ahead of a Christmas holiday service to mark St. Stephen’s day.
Father Symeon Voliotis, an aide at the archbishop’s office, told state-run ERT television that the caretaker found the explosive device at the front entrance of the church, moved it and alerted police.
“Any action that threatens life or disturbs the peace must be condemned,” he said. “My first thought was that someone homeless may have been hurt, because they often seek shelter there. But fortunately that was not the case.”
Authorities were already on alert following a Dec. 17 attack on the private Skai television station when a powerful bomb damaged the front of the building. Militant far-left and anarchist groups have carried out attacks over the Christmas holidays in recent years.