Athens: A parcel bomb ripped through the Greek Ministry for Police and Public Safety, killing the minister`s personal security chief in what the government slammed as a "terrorist attack".
The explosion, which police described as "very strong", on Thursday occurred metres away from the office of the minister, Michalis Chryssohoidis, who was unharmed despite being present in the building at the time.
The blast killed the head of his personal security detachment, Georges Vassilakis, 52, and caused serious damage to neighbouring offices where the bomb went off on the sixth floor, police said.
Prime Minister George Papandreou slammed the bombing as a "terrorist attack".
"While our country and people battle daily to get out of crisis, cowardly killers want to hurt our democracy (and) Greek society," Papandreou said in a statement.
"They will get the response that they deserve not only from the state but also from all of society," he added.
"The terrorists will not reach their objective."
The bombing marks the first time in Greece that an attack has targeted the heart of the country`s security apparatus, and was carried out despite the heavy police presence at the ministry`s entrance.
"We are not afraid, we will continue to fight," Chryssohoidis told journalists at the ministry`s entrance after the bombing.
"Personally, I have lost a precious and dear colleague," he added, clearly in shock.
Greek media were rife with speculation about how the parcel could have made it through normally draconian security measures at the ministry.
The building on the Athens outskirts was evacuated after the blast and the inquiry was entrusted to the anti-terrorist brigade.