NEWS

In Brief

MINISTER TARGETED

Arsonists torch politician's car in Christmas Day hit Arsonists targeted the car of Deputy Environment and Public Works Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis outside his home in the northwestern town of Ioannina early yesterday destroying the vehicle. The assailants doused the wheels of the parked car with a flammable liquid before setting it alight, the fire service said. Meanwhile in central Athens and the coastal suburb of Palaio Faliron self-styled anarchists staged a string of arson attacks against banks and car dealerships, causing widespread damage but no injuries. There was also an attack against the offices of the Development Ministry in the city center. INMATES RELEASED Dozens get festive reprieve Inmates walked out of prisons across the country on Wednesday and Thursday as part of a government plan to grant early release to thousands of prisoners nearing the end of their terms or being detained pending trial. Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the initiative to free 3,720 prisoners by January. Reforms drafted by Hatzigakis, aimed at improving detention conditions in the country's overcrowded jails, foresee the early release of some 5,500 inmates by April. Club shooting Six people were injured in Preveza, northwestern Greece, early on Thursday when a young Albanian man who had been denied access to a nightclub returned to the premises with a gun and opened fire. The man, who police said was drunk, fired six times, causing six bullets to ricochet and hit passers-by. The gunman was hospitalized after being beaten up by bystanders. Meanwhile, in the Athens district of Ilissia, a 30-year-old immigrant was hospitalized after being injured in a drive-by shooting. The man, hit in the shoulder and stomach, had been sitting in a local square with his father. Accidental abduction Police in Thessaloniki yesterday were seeking two men in their mid-20s who on Thursday stole a parked car in which a female motorist had left the keys in the ignition and her baby in the back seat. The woman, who had been withdrawing cash from a bank ATM, informed police who eventually found the car parked a few kilometers outside the northern city. Police believe that the robbers, who stole two bags containing documents from the vehicle, had not initially noticed the presence of the 2-year-old boy, who was unharmed. Suspected murder A 38-year-old immigrant who had been employed at a hotel in the resort of Neos Marmaras in Halkidiki, northern Greece, was found dead in his room on Thursday. The man, who had received several head injuries, is believed to have been murdered. Traffic deaths Two women, aged 27 and 31, were killed on Thursday after being hit by a motorist on a secondary road near the northern town of Serres. The driver, who was hospitalized with minor injuries, lost control of his vehicle, police said, though the exact circumstances of the incident were unclear.

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