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Athens is latest financial attack target

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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: The Athens stock exchange appears to be a target in an explosion this morning in Greece. A powerful car bomb went off in a van parked outside the exchange just a few hours before trading was set to open today.

Our European correspondent, Stephen Beard, joins us live from London with the latest. Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello, Steve.

Chiotakis: So what do we know now?

Beard: The bomb went off at around 5:30 a.m. local time outside the Athens stock exchange. Police had been tipped off and so had sealed off the area. Nevertheless, one passerby was slightly injured by flying glass, several cars set on fire, and the building, according to the stock exhange chairman, has been quite badly damaged.

Chiotakis: Has anyone, Stephen, claimed responsibility?

Beard: Not yet, but this is the latest in a series of attacks specifically on financial targets. And local journalists are saying this bears the hallmark of a violent group called Revolutionary Struggle. This is the group that fired a rocket at the U.S. embassy in Athens two years ago, and earlier this year planted bombs outside buildings belonging to Citibank in Athens. And their focus is clearly economic. The background to this: Greece has been badly hit by the financial crisis, with high youth unemployment in particular, and there’s been a lot of unrest in that country in recent months.

Chiotakis: Yeah. How has this affected trading today over there?

Beard: Well, the stock market opened as usual at 10:15, but we can’t say it’s been business as usual — a number of work stations and desks have been damaged. But the exchange says the core operations are up and running, the exchange is trading.

Chiotakis: All right, Stephen Beard in London this morning. Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.

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