NEWS

Police hold fire-bomb suspect

Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday they had arrested a man suspected of involvement in a spate of over 60 fire-bomb attacks carried out over the past 10 months in the northern city, which have been linked with anarchist groups. According to Thessaloniki Police Chief Constantinos Tzekis, the arrest was followed by raids on three apartments in the city, during which several documents and a computer were seized. Counter-terrorism experts were to help with the investigation. The 26-year-old Thessaloniki clothes shop assistant, whose name was not made public, was arrested during a police ambush early yesterday morning as he was preparing to plant a gas-canister bomb under a private security firm’s van parked on 95, 28 Octovriou Street. A second young man who was with the suspect managed to escape. During the brief struggle, the two youths used pepper spray on the four plain-clothes officers, lightly injuring two in the eyes. Thessaloniki police had stepped up surveillance of security firm vans, many of which were targeted in gas-canister bomb attacks over recent months. Tzekis said that a young woman was also suspected of involvement in the arson group, which is believed to have been made up of anarchists. Police sources said the woman had been among some 30 people arrested in Thessaloniki after the June 21 riots that followed anti-globalization demonstrations held as European Union leaders were holding a summit in nearby Halkidiki. At least 65 gas-canister bomb attacks took place since the arrests, targeting banks, diplomatic vehicles, public sector buildings, churches and security firm vans. There have been 15 so far this year. The latest, on Sunday, damaged the Cypriot vice-consul’s car.