Greek political leaders, journalists condemn bomb attack on media group

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/12/18 8:11:21

Greek political leaders and journalists' unions on Monday strongly condemned the pre-dawn bomb attack against local media group SKAI headquarters as an "attack on democracy," as an unidentified individual made a new threat which eventually proved to be a hoax.

The makeshift bomb device which went off at the premises of SKAI, one of the largest media groups in the country, in the southern suburb of Faliro in Athens, shattered windows at the building's façade, without causing any injuries.

The offices housing SKAI television channel, radio station and Kathimerini newspaper and website had been evacuated as two warning telephone calls had been made to other media outlets before the blast. This is the usual modus operandi of domestic terrorist groups to avoid casualties.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos expressed his unequivocal condemnation of the attack in a telephone call to Kathimerini Executive Editor Alexis Papachelas, according to a press release issued from his office,

In an e-mailed statement to the press, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras labeled the attack a cowardly strike by dark forces against democracy, underlining that Greek society will not be terrorized.

Cabinet ministers and opposition political parties, as well as journalists' unions made similar remarks, as a yet unidentified person posted a warning of an imminent second blast at SKAI on the Greek police's twitter account.

No claim of responsibility has been made for the morning explosion, as police were checking for leads footages from security cameras and a car which was found torched in a nearby district a few hours later.

According to police sources, at least two perpetrators were involved in the attack, leaving a backpack with about 10 kilos of explosives at a sidewalk next to the building before fleeing on a motorcycle.

It was not the first time that SKAI group has been targeted in recent years, until Monday it was mainly with petrol bombs and hand grenades.

"As we have proven for decades, the employees at the radio station, the television station and the website of SKAI will not be gagged and we are not bent by any threat. SKAI will continue to perform its journalistic mission with professionalism and objectivity," read a statement by employees of media group.

Politicians, police, media and financial organizations have been targeted many times in such attacks for decades in the country which suffers from domestic terrorism.

In 1995 MEGA channel TV station's offices were hit with two rockets while the evening news report was on. "November 17" far-left terrorist group, which was dismantled in 2002, was linked to this attack, as well as dozens of bombing hits and assassinations which left 23 dead since 1975.

Greek journalist Pavlos Tsimas currently works for SKAI.

"This attack does not concern only SKAI and SKAI's journalists. All journalists consider it as an attack against them... Personally it is the second time I am having this experience. Twenty-three years ago I was in my office at MEGA when the November 17's rocket hit MEGA. There was no warning back then and luckily there were no casualties," he told media outside SKAI's headquarters on Monday.

"If we think about who is the enemy of terrorism --democracy. We can understand that it is only reasonable that mass media are considered as enemies of terrorists. Terrorists hate the press for the same reason they hate democracy," he stressed.

In 2009 terrorists opened fire outside the premises of ALTER television station without causing injuries, while in 2010 a journalist was shot dead outside his home. Another far-left guerilla group, the so-called "Revolutionary Sect", claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Posted in: EUROPE

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