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Explosion rocks central Athens

Extensive damage reported, but no injuries

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Athens (Greece)
Strikes
Financial and Business Services

ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- A massive explosion shook central Athens Monday morning, causing extensive damage to an area near the Finance Ministry and the central post office, a ministry spokesman said.

There were no reports of casualties.

A senior police source said investigators are treating the blast as if it were a terrorist attack and deem it "a very serious incident."

Authorities had advance notice of the blast as an anonymous warning call was placed at 5:30 a.m. local time to Eleftherotytia, a left wing newspaper, and were able to clear a four to five block area.

"Strong explosion in 40 minutes. This is not a farce," the caller said, according to the newspaper.

The paper received a second call 10 minutes later, pinpointing the location of the blast along Mitropoulos, a central Athens street.

The police source said a bomb appears to have been planted on the back of a motorcycle that was left between the Finance Ministry and the post office.

The explosions scattered debris over a wide area, damaging the facade of the post office and blowing out windows along nearby streets.

Police initially thought the blast was caused by one or more natural gas canisters exploding, but authorities now believe the motorcycle was the source of the explosion.

On local TV, a witness reported seeing 10 large gas canisters near the Finance Ministry, with trash piled on top of them, ahead of the blast.

The ministry has been extremely unpopular following a series of reforms -- many limiting pay increases. A number of unions have called for labor strikes, starting Monday.

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