Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flames for cops outside consulate -- Theassaloniki, Greece

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two men held in Warren County spree that damaged police cars

WARREN COUNTY -- Two men are jailed for a crime spree that police say involved setting fire to police cars, then sending a burning truck onto railroad tracks.

Corey M. Puetz, 21, and Xavier D. Washington, 19, both of Warrenton, are each charged with first-degree burglary, stealing a motor vehicle and stealing over $500. Bond is set at $100,000.

Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison said the crime spree lasted from last Thursday morning until Saturday. No one was injured in any of the blazes.

"I honestly think these kids wanted to create chaos," Harrison said Tuesday morning. "They wanted to light fires. They wanted to see vehicles explode."

Harrison gave the following account of the crime spree:

At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the duo went to the parking lot behind the courthouse in Warrenton. They put a firework into the fuel filler tube of a Warren County sheriff's patrol car and lit it. But the fire didn't catch, and the pair ran off. They went to a nearby home and stole a can of gasoline. Then, they put a gas-soaked rag into the fuel tank of a patrol car and lit it.

They ran to a nearby park and watched as firefighters put out the fire, Harrison said. The car was gutted. It was worth about $8,000, the sheriff said, and contained several thousand dollars' worth of police equipment.

After that, the pair broke into two homes and stole a truck. Hours later, at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday, they put gasoline into a weed-killer pressure sprayer and sprayed gas onto three cars owned by the Warrenton Police Department. They lit the gas and watched as it burned out. They came back with more gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid. They started another fire on the police cars. An officer saw the fire and used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Only one police car was damaged.

A half-hour later, the men set the stolen truck on fire and drove it onto railroad tracks near the Highway 47 overpass in Warrenton.

A citizen's tip on Saturday eventually led police investigators to Puetz and Washington.

State and federal prosecutors are considering additional charges dealing with the arson to the patrol cars and the truck.

Harrison, the sheriff, said neither Puetz nor Washington has had any prior serious dealings with police here. He said Puetz has been picked up before for minor offenses, such as traffic violations and supplying alcohol to minors. Washington used to live in California and has no prior arrest record, Harrison said.