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5 Cars Torched in Moscow, Police Puzzled

Five cars went up in flames in separate incidents in eastern Moscow late Sunday. Police said there were no leads, although torching vehicles is a tactic popular among anarchists.

The vehicles — including a Chrysler SUV, a Volkswagen Transporter and a Zhiguli — were parked for the night in three different neighborhoods, a police source told Interfax.

No indication of arson, such as shards from Molotov cocktail bottles, was found at the scene, RIA-Novosti reported, adding that an investigation was ongoing. Interfax said all the fires started within the vehicles’ engines.

In 2008, 130 cars were torched in the capital in a three-week arson streak that police eventually blamed on teenage hooligans and mentally unstable people. Residents formed street patrols at the time to look for the arsonists.

Self-proclaimed anarchists have taken credit for a string of attacks on property in Moscow that began in 2009. A web site called Black Blog documents the attacks without identifying the perpetrators. One of them told Openspace.ru in February that “sabotage” was the only effective means of pressuring the authorities.

Recent attacks credited to anarchists include the bombing of an empty police precinct near the Moscow Ring Road, the torching of 10 cars in a posh neighborhood in the city’s west side, and the burning of a police building, a luxury-car showroom, an upscale cottage and a bulldozer in the Khimki forest, which is slated for partial destruction.

No one has been detained over the incidents, all of which took place in June.

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