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Small explosion outside French embassy in Athens, police say (Updated)

File photo: French embassy in Athens, Greece

Attackers on a motorcycle threw an explosive device, possibly a hand grenade, at the French embassy in central Athens early on Thursday, wounding a security guard, police said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack on the building opposite parliament, in one of Athens’s best-guarded areas. The attack occurred less than a week before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Greece on Nov. 15-16.

“It was probably a hand grenade,” one police official told Reuters. The building was not damaged but one officer there was slightly injured, the official said.

“Greek police will carry out their duty to identify the perpetrators and guarantee the protection of all citizens,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

The attackers were riding a motorcycle, according to footage from security cameras, another police official said.

Small-scale attacks on businesses, police, politicians and embassies are frequent in Greece, with its long history of political violence. Left-wing urban guerrilla groups often claim responsibility.

Greece’s finance ministry, also close to parliament, was evacuated on Thursday following a bomb threat which turned to be a hoax, police said.

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