Suspected cars arsonists arrested in Berlin
Police in Berlin Tuesday announced the arrest of two suspected arsonists in connection with a spate of attacks against cars which ignited a political row ahead of regional elections in the capital.
The two, a 27-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, were arrested in the northern district of Prenzlauer Berg after a witness saw them setting fire to a parked BMW luxury car at 5 am Tuesday, police said.
Two other cars nearby were damaged in the blaze.
It was not immediately known if they were also suspected of torching other cars in what, over the past two weeks, has taken on the aspect of an orchestrated night-time campaign in which nearly 100 vehicles have been destroyed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed shock at the attacks, which police and city mayor Klaus Wowereit suggested was the work of vandals rather than politically-motivated activists.
Wowereit had called on Berliners to help arrest the culprits by reporting suspicious activity to the police, and a 5,000-euro ($7,200) reward was offered for information leading to an arrest.
More than 100 policemen have been specially deployed every night, along with a helicopter equipped with a thermal vision camera, in a bid to capture the culprits.
The attacks have added fuel to the political battle ahead of the September 18 regional election with Wowereit, a Social Democrat, and his left-wing Linke allies coming under fire for cutting back on police forces.
© 2011 AFP