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Anti-U.S. Group Says It Set Greek Bomb That Hurt 78

February 04, 1985|From Times Wire Services

ATHENS — A previously unknown organization Sunday claimed responsibility for a bomb blast in a crowded Greek bar near a U.S. air base in which at least 70 Americans and eight other people were injured.

An anonymous caller to a pro-government newspaper said a group calling itself the "National Front" planted the time bomb. The caller said the attack was directed "against the Americans who are responsible for the continued situation in Cyprus."

He also warned the newspaper, Eleftherotipa (Freedom of the Press), that the group will strike again soon against places frequented by Americans and Greeks who mix with them.

Cyprus is divided between Greek and Turkish communities, and unification talks last month between Greek-Cypriot President Spyros Kyprianou and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York ended in disarray.

Some Greeks feel that Washington has not done enough to pressure Turkey into removing its troops from Cyprus, which Turkey invaded in 1974 following a coup led by Greek army officers.

The blast occurred at midnight at Bobby's Bar in the seaside resort of Glyfada, 10 miles from the center of Athens. In addition to the 70 American soldiers and their dependents, three tourists and five Greeks were hurt.

The explosion caused heavy damage in the ground floor of the bar, frequented by American soldiers and airmen stationed at the nearby Hellenikon U.S. air base. Police investigators said they found fragments and a clock from a homemade time bomb.

A spokeswoman at the Hellenikon base said 32 Americans, an Ethiopian and a Greek were released after receiving first aid at the base hospital.

She said 13 soldiers were flown out Sunday for treatment in West Germany. The first eight arrived at Ramstein Air Base and were taken to the nearby U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, a spokesman at Ramstein said. One of them was reported in "very serious condition." No names were released.

The injured were treated for burns and underwent surgery to remove fragments from their legs.

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