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Blast hits Indian restaurant in Sydney; no casualties

July 06, 2010 11:19 IST

An explosion triggered by a suspected arson attack ripped apart an Indian restaurant in Sydney, prompting the police to investigate the possible links of the incident to a bomb threat.

The Indian restaurant in Sydney was on Monday night engulfed by fire, which the police suspect was 'deliberately lit'. Four people escaped unhurt in the incident. The police are investigating the possibility of links to a bomb threat at the Copper Tiffin restaurant on Cleveland Street some time ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

A local restaurant owner said he had heard a 'loud explosion, like a bomb' just after 11:30 pm. The explosion threw out debris and caused shreds of glass and signs to cover the road.

"Then I see people climbing out of a window, about four, (it was) very lucky," he said. Two people were seen running away from the site just after 11.30 pm, as fire engulfed the building, witnesses told the police.

Shortly thereafter, an explosion was heard and a witness said the front of the shop was missing. Police are looking for the two men who were seen running away from the scene.

Four people at a residential property above the restaurant managed to escape. One of them has been hospitalized as he has to be treated for smoke inhalation.

A spokesman for NSW fire brigade said nearly 20 fire engines managed to bring the blaze under control just after midnight and it was prevented from spreading to neighbouring properties.

The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the report said.

The witness said the police had been at the same site 'about two weeks ago' and cleared out several restaurants along the Cleveland St strip, possibly due to a bomb threat.

Natasha Chaku In Melbourne
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