Explosion damages HSBC branch in Athens, no injuries

ATHENS Sun May 2, 2010 2:11pm EDT

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ATHENS (Reuters) - A bomb exploded at a branch of HSBC bank in Athens on Sunday, damaging the entrance but causing no injuries, police said.

"It appears a home-made bomb comprised of gas canisters and fuel caused small damage to the bank's facade," a police official said.

Gas canister bomb attacks are common in Athens and are usually staged by leftist and anarchist groups against business and political targets.

Sunday's bombing against the U.K.-based banking group was the first since the Socialist government announced tough new austerity measures in exchange for international aid to cope with a debt crisis.

Opinion polls show the public opposes the measures and more than half of those asked in a recent survey said they would join protests against them.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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