Greece: Italian embassy vehicle destroyed in firebombing

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An overnight arson attack destroyed a car used by a senior official at the Italian embassy in Athens, an incident that authorities in Greece and Italy strongly condemned Friday.

Italian Prime Minister Premier Giorgia Meloni offered solidarity to the diplomat and expressed “profound concern over the attack against her, probably of an anarchist origin.”

The embassy official was identified by Italian authorities as Susanna Schlein, a career diplomat and the sister of prominent Italian lawmaker Elly Schlein.

No one was hurt in the attack outside the official’s home in a northern Athens suburb. Fire Service officials said a crude incendiary device exploded in the garage of the diplomat’s home, burning one car and damaging a second. Eighteen firefighters and six fire trucks were sent to the scene, the officials said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and discussed the incident late Friday, on the sidelines of a meeting near Athens of European center-right political parties.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said the “reprehensible” attack would “in no way disturb the excellent relations and long-standing bonds of friendship between Greece and its partner and ally, Italy.”

Though less frequent in recent years, arson attacks by anarchist and far-left groups are common in Greece and often target banks and vehicles belonging to foreign embassies.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which followed protests by Greek anarchist groups in support of a jailed Italian anarchist militant, Alfredo Cospito, who is on hunger strike in protest at prison conditions.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was awaiting the results of a “thorough police investigation,” adding: “We firmly condemn the vile explosive attack targeting the car and house of Italian diplomat Susanna Schlein in Athens (and express) full solidarity and support to our colleague and the (embassy) staff.” ___ Winfield reported from Rome.

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