Former Greek PM Loukas Papademos recovering from terror attack, police on alert

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-26 04:38:30|Editor: Song Lifang

Counter-terrorism experts check the site of the attack against former Greek Prime Minister Loukas Papademos in Athens,Greece on May 25, 2017. Former Greek Prime Minister Loukas Papademos was slightly injured on Thursday after the explosion of a booby trapped envelope inside his car in central Athens, according to the latest report on Greek national news agency AMNA. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

By Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Former Greek Prime Minister Loukas Papademos was recovering in an Athens hospital on Thursday after an attack against him which was unequivocally condemned by political parties as an attack on democracy.

The 69-year-old president of the Athens Academy, who served as interim prime minister from November 2011 to May 2012, was slightly injured from the blast of a booby-trapped envelope while riding his car in the center of the Greek capital.

"The patient's condition is stable and there is no reason for concern," a statement issued by Evangelismos hospital read.

Papademos sustained superficial injuries to the chest, abdomen and legs and he underwent a surgery to clean the wound on his thigh, according to the press release.

The two men who escorted him, the driver of the armored car provided to the former prime minister by the central Bank of Greece and a security officer who was also inside the vehicle, were also admitted to hospital for precautionary reasons with minor injuries, the statement concluded.

Greek police was on alert in case similar letter-bombs have been sent to other recipients, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack so far, but suspicions fall on domestic terrorist groups who for several years have been attacking political, financial and police targets.

In recent years "Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire" has claimed responsibility for a series of such attacks with booby-trapped envelopes which have been sent also to European leaders.

In March this year the group claimed responsibility for a package with explosives found at the German Finance Ministry. Another booby-trapped envelope attributed to the group slightly injured an employee at the International Monetary Fund's premises in Paris a few hours later.

According to police sources, investigators were looking into possible links with the March attacks. Initial findings indicate that the explosive device contained gunpowder used in fireworks, AMNA reported.

The counter-terrorism squad has launched a full-scale investigation to determine how the letter bomb reached Papademos passing security screenings.

The attack against Papademos is the first targeting a serving or former prime minister since the restoration of democracy in 1974 after a seven-year military dictatorship, SKAI television channel noted.

"I unequivocally condemn the attack on Loukas Papademos. I wish a speedy recovery to him and the people accompanying him," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted from Brussels, where he was attending the NATO summit.

Opposition parties issued similar statements, while several political leaders and public figures rushed to the hospital to be briefed on the condition of Papademos.

Among them was main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis who described the attack as a "cowardly terrorist attack carried out by enemies of Greece and of democracy."

Former prime minister Costas Simitis and George Papandreou also visited the hospital along government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos and the Governor of the central Bank of Greece Yannis Stournaras.

Thursday's attack was a "cowardly attack against a man who kept Greece on its feet at a difficult time," Stournaras said.

Papademos has also served as Governor of the central Bank of Greece (1994-2002) and vice-president of the European Central Bank (2002-2010).

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