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16 June, 2019
 
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Multiple arrests in Nicosia downtown blast

Cops suspect inside job, name of victim has not been released, manner of death unknown

Newsroom

Police have arrested four suspects including a pub owner in connection with an explosion and ensuing fire in downtown Nicosia, where a woman was found dead in her apartment.

A pub owner, described as a 45-year-old Greek Cypriot male, was arrested on Thursday in connection with the explosion and fire at his business establishment a day earlier, on the ground floor of a residential building. He told the media previously that he did not have business disputes with anyone.

But police arrested the owner following statements obtained by another suspect, a 32-year-old Syrian man who was arrested and believed to have been involved in the arson attack. A third suspect under arrest, described as a 28-year-old Greek Cypriot male, was also seen at the scene of the crime on a motorcycle.

The identity of the woman and the cause of her death remain officially unknown or undisclosed even following an autopsy

A fourth suspect was also detained for helping the Syrian man hide from authorities, while police said it had not been ascertained whether he had any role in the attack.

The identity of the woman, whose body was discovered two hours after the initial explosion, remains officially unknown even following an autopsy on Thursday.

Police sources told Knews that there can be a number of reasons why the name was not included in police reports, such as failure to identify the victim 100% as well as other pending issues. Local media said the victim was a 42-year-old woman from Ukraine who came to Cyprus in December for a new beginning.

State forensic pathologist Sofocles Sofocleous, who conducted the post mortem on the victim, said the autopsy did not clarify the circumstances of her death. According to local media, a request for a toxicology report is currently pending, which could possibly shed light on the case.

Investigators are also looking into the possibility that the arson was an inside job, after obtaining information that the pub was insured and that statements pointed to the owner directing the two other suspects to burn the place down.

The suspects are facing multiple charges, including arson and manslaughter or manslaughter by gross negligence, while premeditated murder has not officially been ruled out.

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