At least sixteen Americans and two Greeks were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded Friday, spraying a military bus carrying U.S. soldiers with shrapnel and debris, police and the U.S. Embassy said.
An embassy statement said that 12 of the Americans were military personnel and that the four others were civilians. It said that two of the Americans remained hospitalized while the others were treated for minor injuries and released.
But the Pentagon said late Friday that the Army's count of injuries had climbed to 18 Americans. The reason for the discrepancy in numbers was not immediately clear.
Police said the bomb exploded at 5:10 p.m. near the central market in Piraeus, the seaport for Athens. The bus, which police said carried 35 passengers, was en route to a U.S. Air Force base in the Athens suburb of Glyfada on a regularly scheduled run, carrying both Greek and American personnel.
Police said the bomb was placed on a wall that runs along a paved dry river bed and detonated by remote control. It blew a three-foot hole in the stone wall and smashed the windows of the bus, which then careened off the road into a tree.
Factory Windows Shattered
Windows were shattered in a plastics factory across Kiffisou Avenue, which connects Piraeus and Athens. Police said that traffic was light at the time but that a car was also hit.
The drivers of the military bus and the car, both Greeks, were also injured.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. But United Press International reported that police launched a manhunt for two men in work clothes seen fleeing the scene in a car shortly after the blast.
"Witnesses have given us descriptions of the two men and the vehicle they were in," a police spokesman told UPI. "We would like to question them about the explosion."
In Washington, President Reagan, asked what he knew about the attack, replied: "Several of our military personnel were injured. Apparently there was a rocket attack on a bus taking them to a military airport. No one has claimed, or taken the blame."
The Greek police spokesman denied the attack was caused by a rocket.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said: "We deplore this kind of violence."
Greek government spokesman Yannis Roubatis said that Greece "categorically condemns every type of terrorism whatever its source. Such acts exclusively serve those who conspire against social tranquility and democracy in this country."
The wounded Americans were treated in the hospital at Hellenikon, the Air Force base that was the bus' destination.
At the Pentagon, the Defense Department identified the most seriously injured American as Sgt. 1st Class Clinton L. Brown, a machinist attached to the 558th Army Artillery Group, who was listed in serious condition with head injuries.
Brown, 38, lists his home as Idaho Falls, Ida., and is married with two children, the Pentagon said.