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Attack destroys Athens subway train carriages

Masked arsonists forced passengers off an Athens subway train and then set it alight. Several carriages of two trains were destroyed, but nobody was injured.

world Updated: Mar 03, 2009 16:29 IST

Masked arsonists forced passengers off an Athens subway train and then set it alight, police said on Tuesday. Several carriages of two trains were destroyed, but nobody was injured.

The attack occurred at a subway station that is above ground in the northern suburb of Kifissia shortly after 1 am. Police said a group of people wearing carnival masks forced the handful of passengers on one train to leave, and then doused the carriages with gasoline before using Molotov cocktails to set them alight. They also attacked a second, empty train. Thirty firefighters with 10 fire trucks eventually extinguished the blaze, but the attack destroyed six carriages on one train and damaged three on the second train, authorities said. The Kifissia station remained closed Tuesday morning. Small scale arson attacks are common in Greece, although they usually target symbols of state authority, banks, car dealerships and the offices and vehicles of foreign companies or diplomats. They are usually carried out by extreme left wing groups, and arrests are rare.

The frequency and severity of such attacks has risen in the past few months, following the extensive riots that hit Greece in December, sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenager.