Greece Downplays Israeli Embassy Attack

ATHENS – Greece’s government, which has had growing ties with Israel, said a gunfire attack on that country’s embassy in the Greek capital wouldn’t affect relations between them.

“Nobody can disrupt relations between Greece and Israel,” said Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who visited the scene of the shooting on Dec. 12. Het met Israeli security officials during a visit to the country last month.

Since then, there has been an increase in the number of Israeli security personnel visiting Greece with the aim of implementing the cooperation agreements agreed during Kikilias’s visit.

Gunmen opened fire on the Israeli Embassy early in the morning of Dec. 12 and police said they believe it was done by yet another of the scores of terrorist groups in Athens, this one calling itself the Popular Fighters Group.

Four men in a car stopped across the road from the embassy and that two fired AK-47s at the building, one served as a lookout while the other waited in the car, according to officers.

A total of 56 bullet casings were recovered from the scene. There were two policemen guarding the embassy but both were in their guardposts when the attacked occurred. One of the two was not able to see the assailants from his position. Nobody was injured.

The Popular Fighters Group emerged last year when it claimed that its members fired bullets from a Kalashnikov assault rifle at New Democracy’s headquarters in January.

The group also claimed a similar attack on the German Ambassador’s residence on Dec. 30. Nobody was hurt in either attack.

Ballistic tests on the bullets recovered on Dec. 12 confirmed that they were fired from the same AK-47s used in the attack on the Ambassador’s home, police said.