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Monday, December 12, 2005

BBC NEWS | Europe | 'Bomb blast' rocks Athens square

BBC NEWS | Europe | 'Bomb blast' rocks Athens square 'Bomb blast' rocks Athens square
The main square in Athens has been rocked by a bomb explosion, police say.

The blast occurred at about 0600 (0400 GMT), in or just outside a post office in Syntagma Square, near the Greek finance ministry building.

It was not immediately known if there were any casualties from the blast. TV pictures showed damaged to nearby cars, cafes and shops.

A Greek daily newspaper received a bomb warning 30 minutes before the blast, state television said.

Police say the device was apparently made from several gas canisters.

No group or individual was known to have claimed responsibility for the blast.

The finance ministry is often the target of any demonstrations against Greek government policy.

Strikes planned

The blast coincides with the beginning of a week of heavy strike action in Greece, over changes to public sector contracts.

Greece's largest union has called for transport strikes between 1100 and 1600 (0900 GMT-1400 GMT) on Monday and again on Thursday.

There is also a 24-hour strike planned for Wednesday across the public sector.

Athens has been attacked by bombers before.

The 17 November radical leftist guerrilla group was blamed for a number of attacks and assassinations, but was apparently disabled by a government crackdown, which resulted in 19 of its members being jailed in December 2003.

Other local anarchist groups have mounted attacks in the past, but Athens has been quiet since police action was stepped up before the city hosted the Olympics last year.

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