Arson attacks hit five banks

Five banks were damaged in Athens early yesterday in a spate of carefully coordinated arson attacks, police said. The explosions, caused by homemade devices made with cooking gas canisters, took place between 1.45 a.m. and 2.10 a.m. at branches of National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Emporiki Bank and American Bank of Albania. No one was hurt in the blasts, which damaged ATM machines, smashed front windows and sparked fires. Firefighters contained the blazes before the flames spread and caused further damage, authorities said. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the arson attacks, which took place in central Athens and the suburbs of Argyroupolis, Halandri, Peristeri and Nea Smyrni, where the area’s National Bank branch sustained the worst damage in all the attacks. Police said that given the short time period in which all the attacks took place, they appear to have been a coordinated effort.

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