Bomb explodes at Athens mall, two wounded

AP photo A police officer secures the street in front of a mall following a blast in Athens on Sunday. A bomb exploded at the mall, slightly wounding two security guards, police said.

ATHENS, Greece — A bomb exploded at a shopping mall in Athens on Sunday, slightly wounding two security guards and forcing the evacuation of about 200 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, the latest in a string of violent attacks.

Two warning calls were made to local media about 50 minutes before the blast, leading authorities to evacuate people from the four-story mall in the Maroussi suburb, a police official told the Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Shops are closed at the mall on Sundays but restaurants and movie theaters are open. The device exploded about 20 minutes before some movies were to start, mainly children’s films.

“Today’s bomb attack at The Mall, an area that many mainly young people chose for their Sunday outing, shows that we are faced with a new kind of terrorism that not only choses symbolic targets, but wants death and blood,” said the socialist PASOK party, which is part of the three-party governing coalition.

The device was a small bomb believed to have been planted in a trash bin. The blast caused minor damages to nearby stores, the official said.

The bomb comes after a string of apparently politically-motivated attacks, as Greece struggles through a financial crisis that has led successive governments to impose deeply resented salary and pension cuts and tax hikes.

In recent days, small explosive devices were planted outside the homes of journalists and of the government spokesman’s brother, while others targeted bank ATM machines.

Small armed groups have been active in Greece for decades, often planting bombs at night at company offices, but daytime attacks in public places are rare.

Last Monday, gunmen opened fire with an assault rifle on the headquarters of the conservative party, which heads the governing coalition. No injuries were caused, and there has been no claim of responsibility.


Demetris Nellas contributed to this report.