Greek government points to arson for fires

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August 27, 2007 23:37

 
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The government said Monday it has enlisted intelligence and counterterrorism agents to foil what it sees as a deliberate plan to destroy Greek forests. But independent experts offered a simpler answer: draw up a national forest registry. At least 63 people have died over the past three days as Greece's worst fires in living memory obliterated swaths of forests and emptied villages from Evros in the north to the western islands of Corfu and Kefalonia, and the Peloponnese in the south. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said the Secret Service and anti-terrorism squads had joined police in investigating the blazes, which he said appeared to be the work of arsonists. "We have indications (arsonists were involved), witness testimonies and finds which require investigation," he said. A senior prosecutor ordered an investigation Monday to examine whether the fires could be termed acts of terrorism or organized crime - allowing authorities broader powers of investigation and arrest.

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