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Cyprus vows to protect schools after overnight bomb attack in Limassol

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By AP
A woman wearing a face mask exits the Faneromeni primary school in central capital Nicosia.
A woman wearing a face mask exits the Faneromeni primary school in central capital Nicosia.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File

Cyprus has pledged to increase protection for schools after an overnight bomb attack in Limassol.

A makeshift explosive device went off in the early hours of Thursday outside a primary school in the southern city, shattering window panes and damaging an adjacent church.

A second explosive device found at the school’s main entrance reportedly failed to detonate.

Cyprus' education minister Prodromos Prodromou has pledged to protect the country’s teachers and schools from "bullying".

Prodromou said in a statement that he will work with law enforcement authorities to prevent similar “common criminal acts” aiming to “intimidate” teachers and schoolchildren.

Speaking on the Cypriot state broadcaster, primary school teachers’ union boss Myria Vassiliou also urged the public to stand by the side of teachers, insisting that “those who aim to stoke tensions will no longer be tolerated.”

Authorities initially suspect the devices were left by people opposed to compulsory mask-wearing in schools.

This week, the Cypriot health ministry issued an order that all schoolchildren aged six and above must wear facemasks, as well as undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. A small, vocal group of parents have reacted angrily to the restrictions, saying the order infringes freedoms.