Gunmen drive into Microsoft's Greece headquarters, set van on fire

Microsoft's office building in Athens sustains damage in an arson attack, but no one was injured

Armed men drove a stolen van loaded with gas canisters into the Microsoft Greece headquarters in Athens on Wednesday and set it on fire, causing damage to the building.

"Early in the morning of Wednesday, June 27, the Microsoft building in Athens, Greece, was attacked by assailants who drove a van through the entrance to the building, ushered the two security personnel out of the building and then set the van on fire," a Microsoft spokeswoman said via email.

The stolen van was packed with gas canisters and other cans of flammable materials, but no one was injured, local media reports said. The attack occurred at around 4 a.m. Athens time, and the gunmen escaped.

"Our priority is our people and we are grateful that no one was injured and that all employees are safe," the Microsoft spokeswoman said. Microsoft has over 150 permanent employees in Greece, according to its website.

The Microsoft office has been closed and the counterterrorism unit of the Greek national police has launched an investigation. "We are awaiting the completion of the police investigation in order to acquire a fuller view of the situation," the Microsoft spokeswoman said.

The reasons behind the attack were not immediately clear, but it comes at a time of prolonged economic recession in Greece that resulted in harsh austerity measures and a high unemployment rate.

Far-left extremist groups unhappy with the government's policies are known to have engaged in arson attacks before. Back in February, a time-controlled homemade incendiary device was found on a subway train parked in an Athens metro station.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service

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