The attack followed protests by Greek anarchist groups in support of a jailed Italian anarchist militant who is on hunger strike in protest against prison conditions.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who was due to pay a scheduled visit to Athens later Friday, said he would visit the embassy and meet with staff there.
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who was due to pay a scheduled visit to Athens later Friday, said he would visit the embassy and meet with staff there. (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 condemned. 

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

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

No one was hurt in the incident outside the official’s home in a northern suburb of the Greek capital. 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, who was due to pay a scheduled visit to Athens later on Friday, said he would visit the embassy and meet with staff there.

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Greece’s Foreign Ministry called the attack “reprehensible” and added that the incident “will in no way disturb the excellent relations and the long-standing bonds of friendship between Greece and its partner and ally, Italy”.

Though less frequent in recent years, arson attacks by anarchists 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 that 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.”

Source: AP