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Article updated: 1/20/2013 7:55 AM

Explosion at Athens shopping center injures 2


An explosion at a shopping center in the northern Athens suburb of Marousi today was an attack on democracy and aimed to threaten Greece's economic recovery, the country's Public Order ministry said.

The improvised explosive device "didn't only target a specific building, it targeted democratic normality, social peace and the prospect for economic recovery in our country," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website. "Our democracy is neither daunted nor bullied."

The explosion at the "The Mall" occurred on the first- floor of the shopping center at 10.45 a.m. local time, state-run NET TV reported.

Two people near to the mall, where only cafes, restaurants and cinemas are open on Sundays, suffered minor injuries, the broadcaster reported. An unidentified person made a warning call to the Eleftherotipia newspaper and the Zougla news website around 50 minutes before the explosion, it said.

The two injured were security guards and material damage to stores was limited. Police cordoned off the area, after evacuating around 200 people, and are searching for other explosive devices, Marousi mayor Yiorgos Patoulis said in comments broadcast live on NET.

Terrorist Attack

Both Eleftherotipia and Zougla confirmed on their websites that they had received the warning call. The explosive device was made from gas cannisters and placed in a box under a stairway near a bank branch, NET said, citing police. The caller said a claim of responsibility for today's explosion will be made, according to Zougla.

Greek police had information of an imminent terrorist attack in the country since November, Kathimerini newspaper reported today, citing Public Order Minister Nikolaos Dendias.

A gunmen fired shots at the headquarters of the ruling New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Jan. 14. That incident followed a spate of attacks on the homes of Greek journalists on Jan. 11 and the home of the brother of a Greek government spokesman the following day.

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