Car bomb at central bank as Greece returns to markets

Far-left thought to be behind attack; Merkel to arrive on Friday

10 April, 20:10

    (by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, APRIL 10 - As Greece returned to international markets with an issuance of state bonds that saw demand at 20 billion euros worth and which enabled the placing of some three billion five-year bonds at 4.95%, a car loaded with explosives blew up on Thursday morning in front of the Athens central bank. Material damage resulted but no casualties.

    The unexpected success of the first bond issue in four years was greeted enthusiastically by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who said that ''international markets have clearly expressed their confidence in the Greek economy, in Greece's future and in our country's ability to get out of the crisis earlier than expected.'' Socialist Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos called Greece's return to the markets ''a great success'', noting that it was ''even better than in some countries like Ireland and Portugal''. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said that ''the best way to compensate those who have suffered from the crisis by having their salaries reduced or taxes increased is through an economic recovery, and the first signs of this can already be seen.

    Gradually we will make up for the loss of revenue that we have had,'' he said. International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde said that Greece was moving in the right direction but that much remained to be done, and that a return to the markets was the goal of every IMF plan. On the issue of terrorism, the timing of the attack - which no group has claimed responsibility for but which is believed to have been conducted by the far-left, which is against the austerity measures imposed by the Greek government after a Memorandum signed with international creditors - is very significant. It was carried out between a general strike against the Samaras government (on Wednesday) and the arrival in Athens (on Friday) of German chancellor Angela Merkel on her second visit to Greece after a heavily contested one on October 9, 2012. Merkel will be meeting with Samaras to praise Greece's efforts for economic recovery, according to her spokesman Steffen Seibert.(ANSAmed).

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