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Militant Greeks claim attack on U.S. Embassy

Thursday, January 25, 2007

ATHENS, Greece -- A Greek militant group has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens earlier this month, blaming American policy in Iraq and the Middle East for the strike. The far-left group Revolutionary Struggle issued a statement to the weekly Pontiki newspaper, its publisher Dimitris Benekos said Wednesday. He said the statement would be published today and police said forensic experts were examining the document. "It is a five-page statement which explains why it chose the embassy as a target, linking [the attack] with U.S. foreign policy in various parts of the world -- Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine and so on," Benekos said. "The statement was signed by Revolutionary Struggle," he said. There were no injuries in the Jan. 12 attack, which caused minor damage. The strike using a rocket-propelled grenade alarmed authorities, who fear a possible resurgence of Greek militant attacks that were common in the 1980s and 1990s.

On the day of the attack, a Greek private security firm used by the embassy received a call from someone claiming to be from Revolutionary Struggle. But police could not verify that the caller actually represented the group.

Benekos said the statement also mentioned the names of two government ministers and senior judges in an apparent threat of future attacks.

Revolutionary Struggle, which first appeared three years ago, has claimed responsibility for a failed bomb attack on Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis. Nobody was injured in the May 2006 blast.

The group also bombed a U.S. bank, a police station and two government ministries, including a 2005 blast in Athens' main Syntagma Square.

Revolutionary Struggle has sent four statements in the past to Pontiki claiming responsibility for attacks.

"The method in which the statement was delivered and the appearance of the statement itself are similar to the previous cases," Benekos said.

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Associated Press writer Nicholas Paphitis contributed to this report.


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