Makeshift bomb injures two at Greek shopping mall

Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:48am EST
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By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS (Reuters) - A makeshift time-bomb lightly injured two security staff at a large shopping center near Athens on Sunday, in escalating political violence in the crisis-hit country.

The blast followed gun and bomb attacks on political figures and journalists in recent weeks, some claimed by anti-establishment leftists angry about Greece's financial woes.

The device, which exploded shortly before 11 a.m. (4.00 a.m. ET), was left in a rubbish bin close to a National Bank branch at The Mall shopping center in the middle-class Maroussi area, said police. There have been no claims of responsibility so far.

The time bomb contained about 1.5 kilos (3.3 lb) of gelatinous dynamite and a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, known as ANFO, according to a police official who declined to be named.

While shops are closed on Sunday, cafes, cinemas and restaurants in the center were open for business. Police evacuated the mall after two warning calls to a newspaper and a news site, made about half an hour earlier.

Maroussi mayor George Patoulis told state Net TV about 200 people were in the shopping center.

"We were doing inventory in our shop and the police told us to evacuate. We ran out and in 10 minutes we heard the blast. It all happened really fast," a shop clerk told SKAI radio.

Police shut down a metro station, combed the center for other bombs and checked security cameras. Authorities said the two security guards suffered minor cuts from shattered glass.   Continued...

Police officers secure an area near a shopping mall (seen in the background) following an explosion near Athens January 20, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis