Blast outside Athens court building, no injuries

A warning phone call had enabled police to evacuate the area.

Athens: A bomb exploded outside an Athens court on Thursday, causing damage to the building but no injuries after a warning phone call had enabled police to evacuate the area, police said.

Television footage showed smoke billowing in front of the administrative court complex near the city centre shortly after the device detonated at 8:10 am (0610 GMT).

Several of the building`s windows were smashed and vehicles parked nearby were also damaged.

Early information indicated that the device, probably a time bomb, had been placed on a stolen motorbike, the police source said.

"It was a rather strong explosion," a local kiosk owner told Alter television, which received the warning phone call some 40 minutes before the blast and notified the police.

"I am 100 metres (yards) away and all my wares have fallen off the shelves," he said.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing, which comes some two weeks before the scheduled trial of more than a dozen suspected members of a radical Greek anarchist group.

The court targeted on Friday is responsible for civil cases and will not be handling the January 17 trial of suspected members of the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group.

The group was held responsible for a wave of parcel bombings in November that targeted foreign embassies in Athens and European government leaders.

At least four of the parcels, which contained gunpowder, ignited and one of them burned the hands of a woman working at a courier company.

Last week, a similar campaign in Rome using stronger explosives injured two people at the embassies of Switzerland and Chile.

The Rome plot was claimed by an Italian anarchist group calling itself the Informal Federation of Anarchy, or FAI under its Italian acronym, which expressed its solidarity with jailed Greek suspected extremists.

Another parcel turned up at the Greek embassy in Rome on Monday but was deactivated before causing injury.

Bureau Report