Gunmen on a motorcycle fired on a suburban Athens police station with automatic weapons late Tuesday, wounding six police officers, authorities said.
The attack occurred after Greece's new Socialist government
promised to crack down on anarchist and far-left militant groups
that have stepped up bombings and shootings in the wake of riots in
Athens and other cities in December.
Two officers were seriously wounded in Tuesday's shooting, which
occurred at 9:40 p.m. (1840 GMT, 2:40 p.m. EDT) in the Agia
Paraskevi area, north of the Greek capital, police said. Four other
officers were hospitalized with less serious injuries, while a
bystander was treated for shock, state hospital officials said.
"This was a cowardly and murderous attack ... it was 100
percent terrorism," said Michalis Chrisochoidis, a government
minister in charge of police.
Two men on a motorcycle stopped and opened fire on police
officers standing outside the station before driving away. The
gunmen fired about 50 shots, authorities said.
Officers from the police's anti-terrorism division gathered
evidence at the targeted police station, while police stopped and
searched vehicles across northern Athens.
No group claimed responsibility for the shooting, but suspicion
fell on far-left militant groups that have increased attacks since
the December riots that were triggered by the fatal shooting of a
teenage boy by police.
In June, gunmen shot dead an anti-terrorist policeman guarding a
witness in central Athens. A group called Sect of Revolutionaries
later claimed responsibility, saying it acted to avenge the teenage
The country's Socialist government, which won general elections
earlier this month, has promised to crack down on domestic
Police were also bracing for potential violence on the Dec. 6
anniversary of the police shooting that sparked the riots in Athens
and other Greece cities.
"These cowardly killers will be caught and brought to
justice," Chrisochoidis said.