>ATHENS — A powerful bomb detonated outside a court building near central Athens on Thursday morning, causing significant damage but no injuries, the police said.
The authorities found the device and cordoned off the area around the Athens administrative court after calls to the private television station Alter and the daily newspaper Eleftherotypia at about 7:40 a.m. warned that a bomb would go off there in 40 minutes.
“In both cases, the caller said the device had been strapped to a scooter outside the courthouse and gave the scooter’s registration number,” said an officer at the Athens police headquarters who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. “The explosion occurred two minutes after the deadline,” the officer said, adding that police bomb disposal experts had gathered the remnants of the device and the vehicle and were examining them.
A local resident told the private television station Skai that he had seen two men dressed in police uniforms pull up near the court building on a motorcycle about 6:30 a.m. The witness said he greeted the men, who told him they were abandoning the scooter because it had engine problems. According to the witness, the pair then got into a white van parked nearby and were driven away by a third person.
The explosion damaged the facade of the court building as well as several cars, and also blew out windows in nearby apartment buildings.
The caller who provided the warning in the Athens bombing was described as a man speaking clearly in Greek. The blast occurred in a densely populated area in the city’s Ambelokipi district, shattering windows and nearby shop storefronts in a 200-meter (yard) radius, and seriously damaging at least 10 cars. It sent up a cloud of smoke that was visible across the city.
Police said the bomb was stored in a hard luggage case in the back of a motorcycle reported stolen in a nearby area of Athens several hours earlier.
An initial examination of the site, suggested that the explosive Anfo — a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil used in construction but also in improvised explosive devices — was used, police investigators said. The material has been used in the past and seized in police raids in recent months on suspected militant safehouses.