NEWS

In Brief

Simitis targeted

Little-known group claims blast at ex-premier’s office A relatively new domestic terrorist group calling itself Revolutionary Liberation Action yesterday called Skai TV and Radio to claim responsibility for an explosion outside the central Athens office of former Prime Minister Costas Simitis earlier in the day which caused serious damage but no injuries. The group first appeared last March when it claimed responsibility for a similar device planted outside the offices of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a New Democracy MP. Unidentified arsonists had placed the homemade explosive device, comprising four gas canisters, outside Simitis’s political office on the fifth floor of an apartment block on Academias Street. The 73-year-old former premier was not in the office at the time of the blast. Two workers from the office who had been on its balcony were unharmed. Hospital disruption Doctors to join Feb 10 strike Doctors at state hospitals are to join a 24-hour strike on February 10 called by the civil servants’ union, the umbrella union representing the country’s doctors announced yesterday. The decision to take action was made to protest plans by the Finance Ministry to cut state funding for hospitals as part of a broader program to rein in public spending and get the reeling economy back on track. Synagogue fire A 24-year-old Greek American was released yesterday on conditional bail after defending himself before a Cretan prosecutor on charges related to two arson attacks on the Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania. On Monday, a 33-year-old Briton was remanded in custody in connection with the attack, while two other suspects – a 24-year-old local man and a 23-year-old Briton – were released on bail pending trial. A fifth man, also an American, is being sought but is believed to have fled to Italy. The synagogue was severely damaged in the January 5 and 16 attacks. Robbers thwarted Police in Thesprotia, northern Greece, yesterday traced two men believed to have carried out an armed robbery on a gas station near the small town of Krystallopigi earlier in the day. The suspects, aged 27 and 30, were found hiding in a derelict primary school near a forest on the outskirts of Krystallopigi. Officers confiscated a sawn-off shotgun, a switchblade and the motorcycle on which the two men are believed to have made their getaway. No one was injured in the raid, which netted the robbers 300 euros. Meanwhile, two armed robbers who held up a cafe-bar late on Wednesday night in Thessaloniki made off with 3,500 euros. There were no injuries. Schools closed Primary and secondary schools in 19 municipalities across the prefecture of Thessaloniki remained closed yesterday as heavy snowfall and low temperatures in the area made travel on roads precarious. Motorists in the region have been instructed to fit anti-skid chains to the tires of their cars.