Published August 23, 2012
CHISINAU, Moldova – Police in Moldova have detained a 23-year-old man suspected of lobbing an incendiary device toward the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Interior Ministry said Thursday that the object flew over the car of Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who was returning to Chisinau after a trip with Merkel to the country's famous Cricova wine cellars.
No one was injured in Wednesday's incident. Authorities have not specified what the device was, but said it did not explode despite being on fire. Eyewitnesses quoted by Prime TV said the device landed "tens of meters" (yards) from Merkel's car, something police refused to comment on.
Police later said that the suspect was not connected to a terrorist organization. They said he had a previous criminal record but did not provide further details.
Merkel was in a bullet-proof limousine and security was tight during the trip. She became the first German chancellor to visit Moldova, a nation of 4.1 million, and expressed support for reforms there.
Moldova's government is increasingly aligning itself with the European Union, but Russia still retains influence in the ex-Soviet republic.