Greek police are investigating the bombing of the offices of three members of the ruling New Democracy Conservative party in Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city. The staffs were briefly caught in the fires that were created, authorities said.
The attacks occurred within several minutes late on March with the use of small cooking gas canisters. City fire official Manolis Tsolakis told the Associated Press that one of the attacks targeted the private office of the Deputy Development Minister, Stavros Kalafatis, where a fire caused extensive damage to the eighth-story office. Two female office employees jumped to the seventh floor to escape the fire.
“The fire was in progress when the two women got out,” he said. One of the women received medical attention in hospital after hurting her leg, fire service officials said. Nearby, four people were rescued by firefighters at the sites of the other attacks at the offices of Members of Parliament Giorgos Orfanos and Costas Gioulekas that sustained more limited damage.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou called the attacks an act of terrorism. “Bombers in hoods do not make the decisions in a democracy. The people do,” he said. “Acts of terrorism will not affect the government. They confirm that we are on the right path.”
Attacks using small bombs and incendiary devices are common in Greece, and frequently carried out by far-left and anarchist groups. Politicians have been targeted more frequently since the country was affected by a major financial crisis.
Even the party headquarters office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was targeted earlier, with a bullet being fired into it. The offices of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have also been hit with incendiary devices recently.
The attacks came as anti-terrorist squads in Athens raided two apartments in greater Athens after seizing a weapons stash in the trunk of a rented car. The cache included four hand grenades, two automatic rifles, ammunition magazines and two crates of rifle bullets. No arrests were announced.
The discovery triggered the raid on a nearby apartment and at the port of Piraeus. Police were awaiting a ballistics examination of the two rifles to determine whether they match weapons used in attacks by local armed groups.