NEWS

Firebomb attack at Turkish Consulate

A predawn firebomb attack on the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki yesterday prompted contact between diplomats in Athens and Ankara, although authorities in the northern Greek city insisted that the Molotov cocktails were thrown at the police guards rather than at the building itself. Police sources said that three men wearing motorcycle helmets approached the consulate, located on Aghiou Dimitriou Street in the city center, at about 4 a.m. From a distance, they started swearing at the two policemen who were standing guard outside the building. One of the three assailants allegedly shouted: «Pigs, we are going to burn you,» before two firebombs were thrown. One Molotov cocktail landed a few meters from the guards’ sentry post and set fire to a climbing ivy on the outer wall of the consulate; the other exploded in midair. Nobody was injured and no arrests were made. Authorities are treating it as just another of the many firebomb attacks that take place in the northern city. Nevertheless, due to the sensitive nature of the matter, the Greek government was quick to condemn the incident «absolutely and categorically.» «Acts like these, regardless of the motives involved, are unacceptable and are directed against Greece itself,» said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. «Our society has zero tolerance for such acts. Those responsible will be arrested and brought to justice. «We express our sorrow to the Turkish government,» he added. Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussed the matter over the telephone. The Foreign Ministry said that Droutsas assured Davutoglu the matter was being investigated and everything was being done to catch the attackers.