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Athens hit by bomb blast

Athens has been awoken by a powerful blast, shattering windows and setting cars on fire. No injuries were reported and there was no immediate claim of responsibilty.

Greek policeman

Athens was rudely awoken by a powerful blast

A bomb went off outside of a court building in Athens, Greece on Thursday after a warning phone call had allowed police to evacuate the area, a police source said.

The blast, which took place shortly after 8.10 am local time (0610 UTC) caused damage to the court building and broke windows on buildings within a 200-meter (219-yard) radius.

Some 90 minutes earlier, a firebomb had been thrown at the Greek embassy in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, causing damages but no injuries. It was not clear whether the two attacks were linked.

In Athens, a warning phone call had allowed police to evacuate the area, a police source said.

"It was a huge blast. I was in the kitchen with my grandchild and the whole building shook. We saw smoke and flames," an elderly woman who lives about 50 metres from the courthouse told Athens radio station Flash.

There were no immediate reports of injuries as television footage showed smoke billowing in front of the Athens court complex near the city centre. Several of the building's windows were smashed and witnesses reported seeing burning cars.

Early information indicated that the device 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 by an unknown male and notified police about 40 minutes before the bomb went off.

"I am 100 meters away and all my wares have fallen off the shelves," he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, which comes two weeks before the scheduled trial of more than a dozen suspected members of a radical anarchist group. They are accused of sending out package bombs to embassies and state leaders, among them German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Author: Natalia Dannenberg, Sarah Harman (AFP, dpa, AP)

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