Greek govt official describes blast as attack

The two men who escorted him, the driver of the armored auto provided to the former prime minister by the central Bank of Greece and a security officer who was also inside the vehicle, were also admitted to hospital for precautionary reasons with minor injuries, the statement concluded.

A government spokesman claimed that the explosion was an attack and said all three who had been hurt - including Mr Papademos - were in a "stable condition, conscious and are undergoing all the necessary medical tests".

Police said Papademos' police escort had been in a auto behind the former prime minister's vehicle, and that the other two wounded were Bank of Greece employees.

Police were trying to trace the trail of the envelope and the post office from where it was sent to the Academy of Athens, where Papademos is president. "He is still in the intensive care unit and will remain there for the next 48 hours, there is no cause for concern", a health official told reporters outside the Evangelismos hospital in central Athens.

Among them was main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis who described the attack as a "cowardly terrorist attack carried out by enemies of Greece and of democracy".

The group, known as SPF, had warned of pending attacks after it claimed to be behind a parcel bomb sent to Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, earlier this year.

The police source said the attack was "largely symbolic" as Papademos was lightly hurt despite his proximity to the letter bomb. "The prime minister has been updated about all the events by the minister of public order and he will continue to receive updates", Tzanakopoulos said.

A press release by the Evangelismos hospital in Athens said the ex-premier and former European Central Bank vice-president is undergoing a battery of precautionary tests, with his condition listed as stable and non-threatening.

The group has also claimed responsibility for a spate of parcel bombings in 2010 targeting embassies in Athens and the offices of European leaders overseas.

The 69-year old former Bank of Greece governor was in an armoured Mercedes provided by the bank, which contained the blast and likely aggravated his injuries, the television station reported. Papademos' auto bore little sign of damage, except for buckling on two doors.

"We are shocked. I wish to condemn this heinous act", Pappas said, according to Sky News.

More than a dozen people have been convicted of group membership and jailed. He also served as Governor of the Bank of Greece in the 1990s.

But during that short time, he became the face of the tough austerity measures that were imposed as part of Greece's bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

  • Leroy Wright