Residents flee arson attack

Firefighters had to rescue two people from an apartment block in central Athens last night after suspected anarchists set fire to a branch of the National Bank on the ground floor, police said. A group of some 20 hooded youths torched the bank at the junction of Ippocratous and Solonos streets after allegedly calling on residents of apartment buildings in the area to leave their homes. Officers said the arsonists used cooking gas canisters, flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails to set fire to the bank which was seriously damaged in the blaze. Police launched a massive manhunt in nearby Exarchia, a known hangout for anarchists, in an attempt to catch the assailants. Up to last night, some 50 suspects had been detained but there were no reports of any arrests.