NEWS

In Brief

Robbery ring

Albanians held for series of raids using heavy weaponry Five Albanian nationals believed to be members of a robbery ring behind a string of holdups of Attica banks, post offices and supermarkets were in detention yesterday after police raided two of their homes in the districts of Nea Smyrni and Palaio Faliro. The ring’s raids were characterized by the suspects’ use of submachine guns and assault rifles to threaten staff into handing over cash without quibbles. The police raids, carried out after several months of investigation, turned up several kilos of cannabis and a cache of guns, including a Kalashnikov assault rifle and two pistols. Officers also found forged identification papers and caps, track suits and sunglasses believed to have been used for disguises. Still at large is the ring’s suspected leader, an Albanian wanted for a 1997 murder, and another four Albanian nationals. Forest fires Heat and wind pose major risk Sweltering temperatures and strong winds resulted in several fires breaking out in different parts of the country yesterday. One of the worst blazes was on the Ionian island of Zakynthos. Six water-dropping aircraft helped firemen on the ground to bring the blaze under control by yesterday evening. Local authorities are today on standby in many parts of the country following a warning yesterday by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection that stronger winds will pose a serious fire risk in many parts. Cyprus invasion Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday pledged that Greeks «would never forget the Turkish invasion of Cyprus» on the 35th anniversary of Turkish forces occupying the island. Karamanlis said Athens would keep pushing to end the division of the island and to bring down «the last barrier still standing on European territory.» «The anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus is a day to remember and at the same time confirms our commitment to searching for a fair and workable solution to the Cyprus problem,» said a statement issued by Karamanlis’s office in Athens. In Nicosia, islanders held memorial ceremonies, just days after community leaders continued with talks aimed at reunifying the island. Collision at sea A Blue Star passenger ferry sailing into the main port of Santorini yesterday struck a private sailing boat but no harm came to some 600 passengers aboard the ferry nor the 40 people on the pleasure boat. As conditions at sea were clear yesterday, it was thought that the collision was provoked by an erroneous maneuver, although it was unclear which of the vessels was to blame. Fatal impatience A Bulgarian truck driver and three Bulgarian nationals in a car were killed early on Saturday when their respective vehicles collided near a junction of the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece. According to police, the collision occurred after the truck driver veered into the lane for oncoming traffic. The driver of the car and his two passengers, all Bulgarians, were killed instantly, officers said. As for the truck driver, he veered off the road and into a 10-meter ditch after the collision and was crushed by the load of bricks he was carrying.