Shootout in central Athens as police arrest wanted guerrilla

ATHENS – Greek police shot and wounded one of Greece's most wanted guerrilla group members in a chase through central Athens on Wednesday in which a policeman and two tourists were also hurt.


Nikos Maziotis was charged in 2010 over a series of attacks claimed by the Revolutionary Struggle group including firing a rocket propelled grenade at the U.S. embassy in Athens in 2007 and a 2009 car bomb that damaged the Athens stock exchange.


"His arrest is undoubtedly a very big success," Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias told a news conference broadcast live on Greek television. Maziotis had been on the run since 2012. Anti-terrorism police had deployed agents in places he was believed to frequent and he was spotted as he was entering an outdoor equipment shop in central Athens, police said.


Maziotis, 42, was eventually caught in the city's shopping district after a chase through three crowded blocks in the tourist area of Monastiraki at the foot of the Acropolis. He fired eight times at the policemen chasing him and received one shot back, police chief Dimitrios Tsaknakis said.


He was shot in the shoulder and underwent surgery at an Athens hospital but his life is not in danger, Health Minister Makis Voridis told reporters. A policeman was injured in the leg during the shootout, Voridis said. A 19-year-old Australian tourist sitting in a nearby restaurant was injured by a bullet splinter in his ankle and a German tourist was hurt, but not hospitalised.


Police were looking for a second suspect, a police official told Reuters, declining to be named.

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