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Altona Tobacconist Believed To Be Latest Targeted In Firebombing Attacks

Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding a suspicious fire at an Altona tobacconist on Thursday morning.

Emergency services responded to reports of the fire at Pier Street just before 4am.

The glass on the front door of the Free Choice Tobacconist was smashed and two burnt jerry cans were found on the footpath at the front of the store.

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Police say the fire at this stage is believed to be targeted and has been deemed suspicious.

A crime scene has been established and an arson chemist is attending the scene on Thursday morning.

Police are also investigating if a dumped car found burnt out in a carpark off Altona Road about 4:50am is linked to the shop’s fire.

It is unclear if the car and the fire are linked, but the car was found about five minutes from the store’s location.

It will be investigated if the fire is linked to a series of arson attacks across Melbourne amid an escalating war between rival crime syndicates for control over the cheap cigarette trade.

Dozens of tobacconists, restaurants, and gyms have been set on fire as part of the ongoing war, with Victoria Police establishing Lunar taskforce to investigate the attacks.

Investigators are appealing for anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area or with information to come forward.  

Anyone who witnessed the incident or with dashcam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or on the Crime Stoppers website.

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