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Greek Police Destroy Suspected Bomb Outside Athens Ministry

Members of the bomb squad search for evidence outside Labor Ministry in Athens, Dec. 12, 2016.

Greek authorities have destroyed a time bomb placed overnight outside the Labor Ministry on a major thoroughfare in central Athens, after a warning telephone call was made to a newspaper, police said Monday. No injuries or damage were reported.

A bomb disposal crew carried out three controlled explosions at about 4:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) Monday to destroy the device, which was found in a backpack placed in a plastic container at the building's entrance.

Authorities were alerted following an anonymous call to a newspaper at about 1 a.m. in which the caller said a bomb was to explode in 40 minutes. A bomb squad arrived and cordoned off the area, but the device did not detonate.

Police said it was not immediately clear why the device did not explode. Anti-terrorism police were leading the investigation and forensic experts were examining the remnants of the backpack and its contents.

A number of small domestic extremist groups are active in Greece, usually carrying late-night attacks that rarely cause injuries.