Greek Terrorists Strike U.S. Embassy

Terrorists launched a rocket into the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece Hit by Terrorists Police anti-terrorist officers investigate the area behind the banner emblem of the US Embassy in Athens on Friday, Jan. 12, 2007. An anti-tank shell was fired at the U.S. embassy early Friday, striking the front of the building but causing no injuries. Greece's public order minister said the blast was 'very likely' an act of terrorism by a domestic group, raising fears of resurgent violence by far-left Greek militants. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) The U.S. Embassy in Athens came under fire early Friday from a rocket that exploded inside the modern glass-front building but caused no casualties in an attack police suspect was the work of Greek leftists. Narrowly missing the embassy emblem, the anti-tank shell pierced the building near the front entrance shortly before 6 a.m., damaging a bathroom on the third room, which houses the ambassador’s office, and shattering windows in nearby buildings.

“We’re treating it as a very serious attack,” U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries said.

Greece’s Public Order Minister said police were examining the authenticity of anonymous phone calls to a private security company claiming responsibility on behalf of Revolutionary Struggle, a militant left-wing group. “It is very likely that this is the work of a domestic group,” Minister Vyron Polydoras said. “We believe this effort to revive terrorism is deplorable and will not succeed.”

Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for a May 2006 bomb attack on Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, in which nobody was injured.

Shooting RPGs into a glass office building would be expected to produce casualties. That they chose to do well before the workday started might well be an indication they were doing it to get attention rather than kill. Either that, or they are amazingly inept. Either way, we can be thankful that this produced only property damage.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey observes,

Regardless of the source, it points out the vulnerability of fixed assets in an age of terrorism. The US has heavy security around our embassy in Greece, the result of a terrorist attack by November 17 in 1996 and the overall security issues from al-Qaeda attacks in 1998 and on 9/11. In this case, the shot came from a bathroom on the third floor of a building facing the embassy, a point that exists outside of any security protocols — although one would hope that anyone watching a person drag an RPG and a launcher into a building might get curious enough to call the police.

You’d think. Then again, it was early in the morning and hand-held rocket launchers aren’t so large that they can’t be concealed in a container.

Steven Taylor is right, too, to note that while this was likely “terrorism” in a technical sense, it would appear unconnected to the “war on terrorism” as we understand it:

The problem at the moment, however, is that to an American eye and ear the evocation of “terrorism” leads to connections to al Qaeda, Islamic radicalism and/or threats to the security of the United States. In the grand scheme of things, however, Greeks with revolutionary dreams and rocket-launchers, dangerous as they may be, are not a threat to the security of the US. Indeed, they are likely no more than a nuisance to the Greeks.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Policing, Terrorism, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Maybe we haven’t been paying the rent, and the landlord was sending a message?

  2. MinorRipper says:

    Looks like it’s the world against us…I say Bring ‘Em On!!!!!

  3. Mark says:

    Last year I was walking around Oslo Norway. I passed a building and thought “wow is that ugly”.

    I looked closer and noticed it was the US embassy all hunkered down behind fences and thick glass.