In Brief

Thessaloniki blast

Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire claims bomb outside ministry A leftist guerrilla group claimed responsibility late on Saturday for a bomb that caused widespread damage but no injuries at the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry last Wednesday. «Early on Wednesday, we planted two time-bombs – made of eight kilos of explosive material – behind the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace,» the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire said in a statement published on the Internet. By late yesterday there had been no claim of responsibility for a larger blast outside the Athens Exchange also on Wednesday. Police say the methodology of the Athens attack points to Revolutionary Struggle, the group best known for firing a rocket at the US Embassy in January 2007. Sex ring Romanian racket broken Police in Athens were yesterday questioning two Romanian nationals, a 37-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man, believed to be leading members of a ring exploiting foreign women by forcing them to work in the illicit sex trade. According to police, the ring smuggled the women into Greece before using violence and threats to hold them hostage in an apartment in the central district of Aghios Panteleimonas and forcing them to offer sexual services. Officers were tipped off about the ring’s alleged activities by a 25-year-old woman who managed to escape from captivity. Police said they are seeking two more suspected ring members – a 28-year-old Romanian woman and a 25-year-old Italian man. Evros fire Dozens of firefighters were dispatched yesterday afternoon to extinguish a large fire that broke out on forest land near the villages of Aetohori and Melia in Evros, northern Greece. Winds of up to 7 on the Beaufort scale fueled the flames and hampered the efforts of firefighters who had failed to fully contain the blaze by late last night. Two villages were evacuated as a precaution. Jail sweep A search of the premises of Amfissa jail in central Greece yesterday turned up a gun that had been hidden behind a refrigerator in the corridor of a communal area, authorities said. The weapon had been wrapped up in several sheets of newspaper and stuffed behind the appliance, sources said. Armed robbery Two gunmen held up a gas station in Halkidona early yesterday, about 12 kilometers outside Thessaloniki on the national highway, fleeing with an undetermined sum. There were no injuries during the raid. Ferry collision A passenger ferry that had been en route for Piraeus from the island of Rhodes yesterday, carrying 262 passengers, sustained minor damage when it hit a rocky outcrop off the island of Karpathos. The vessel moored at Karpathos for a precautionary inspection and was expected to continue its journey later in the day. Volleyball Greece’s volleyball team scored three wins in as many games in the first group stage of the European Championship in Turkey. The players of coach Dimitris Kazazis defeated Slovakia 3-2 on Saturday and Slovenia 3-1 yesterday to top their group, having also beaten Spain 3-0 on Friday. The team’s games in the second group stage start tomorrow.