The home of Germany’s ambassador to Athens was sprayed with gunfire from automatic weapons in an overnight attack, Greek police said.
Anti-terrorism police cordoned off streets around the official residence of ambassador Wolfgang Dold following the attack in the Halandri area of the capital and recovered more than 60 bullet casings from the scene.
No one was injured in the attack and no group has claimed responsibility for it.
Lead bailout lender Germany is often the subject of strong criticism in Greece, which is suffering through a sixth year of recession and tough austerity measures imposed as a condition of the country’s international rescue loans.
The government said the attack was aimed at hurting the country's image before it takes over the presidency of the European Union.
Six people were briefly detained for questioning and released without charge while investigators were examining video from surveillance cameras as well as a stolen car found near the scene of the shooting, police said.
Foreign diplomats were repeatedly targeted by far-left terrorist groups active from the mid-1970s but such attacks have been rare since a major police crackdown on radical militants that started more than a decade ago and resulted in multiple arrests and convictions.
The same building had been targeted in a 1999 attack using an improvised rocket launcher that also resulted in no injuries and was claimed by the November 17 terrorist group.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his foreign minister telephoned the ambassador following the attack, which the government said was intended to tarnish the country’s reputation during its January 1-June 30 presidency of the EU.
“The Greek government expresses its outrage and outright condemnation of today’s cowardly terrorist action which had the only apparent objective of (damaging) Greece’s image abroad ... The perpetrators will soon be brought to justice,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Mr Dold, a 55-year-old career diplomat who has three children, thanked the government for the police's ``swift response''.
“To those responsible for this action, I state it will not affect the close and friendly relations between our two countries, and it will not reverse the country’s economic recovery,” he said in a statement.
Mr Samaras telephoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the German ambassador following the attack.