A bomb went off Wednesday evening near the Acropolis in Athens, but the ancient tourist attraction wasn't the target — the scary incident in the middle of the Greek capital may have had more to do with the ongoing financial crisis in Cyprus.
Greek police told the Associated Press the bomb went off around 8:30 p.m. local time near — importantly — the home of a shipbuilder. There was some structural damage but no injuries, as police had advanced warning and were able to evacuate the area. Via Al-Jazeera, the AFP reports a phone call was placed to a local newspaper warning about the bomb would go off around that time. "An anonymous caller contacted a Greek daily and said the bomb would explode at 20:30 local time outside the home of shipowner Tsakos," a police source told AFP. The AFP is also reporting the bomb was left in a black backpack on the entrance to the house.
This is the scene now:
Scene of bomb explosion near the Acropolis in Athens, Greece twitter.com/karima_elkhour… (Photo: RadicalMedia)— Cyprus Market (@russian_market) March 27, 2013
This video appeared to show the bomb going off:
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Now, onto the Cyprus connection. Kathimerini, a daily local paper in Athens, identifies the shipowner who owned the nearby home as Panagiotis Tsakos, the head of the Tsakos group, one of Greece's biggest ship building companies. Reuters reports that his 50-year-old son Nikos Tsakos lives in the home and was a member of the Bank of Cyprus board of governors until January of this year. Sky News also notes that a bomb went off outside a Bank of Cyprus branch in Limassol, Cyprus on Sunday. The Bank of Cyprus is currently at the center of a messy, controversial bailout package designed to keep the small island country afloat, and that has been the headache of world financial watchers for the last two weeks. If a series of bombs start going off, physical ones and not financial ones, well, that can only make a messy situation even messier. At least banks were set to re-open Thursday in Cyprus, albeit with intense restrictions put in place Wednesday by the Cypriot government — no checks cashed, no transfers to other countries, no more than 3,000 euros outside the country, no credit card or debit card charges over 10,000 euros. And, hopefully, no more bombs.
[Lead image via @pitsirikos]