Two policemen were killed and another two were injured in the district of Rendi, southwestern Athens, on Tuesday evening after a group of suspected robbers they had been chasing opened fire on them with assault rifles.
Sources at the Geniko Kratiko hospital in Nikaia told Kathimerini that one of the officers was
pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital last night. Another officer who had been shot in the head died of his injuries in the hospital shortly before 10 p.m.
They were named as Giorgos Skyloyiannis, 22, and Yiannis Evangelinelis, 23. The third officer underwent surgery for a serious stomach wound and was reportedly in a stable condition late on Tuesday night. Doctors said they were not worried about the condition of the fourth policeman, who was shot in the leg.
Earlier on Tuesday a spokesperson for the Greek Police had said that four officers had been shot while on duty.
The officers, members of the motorcycle-riding DIAS rapid-reaction unit, were attacked after cornering the three suspects? car, a stolen Volvo. The suspects had been wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles, the police spokesperson said.
She said police were investigating a possible link between the gunmen and the perpetrators of a raid on a street kiosk in the northern district of Menidi earlier on Tuesday. The kiosk robbers also had wielded Kalashnikovs, she said.
A manhunt launched by police immediately after the shooting had failed to trace the gunmen by late on Tuesday, but sources said the stolen Volvo had been found near the scene of the shooting. A search of the car turned up two Kalashnikovs and a pistol.
Speaking from Ankara where he is on an official visit, Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis expressed shock at the news, noting that ?some people have chosen to walk down a bloody path.? Papoutsis told the Athens News Agency that a police investigation had been launched to determine whether the attack was the work of domestic terrorists or of an organized crime group.
Yesterday?s fatal shooting comes less than a month after unidentified assailants wielding Kalashnikovs shot dead a 30-year-old off-duty policeman in the neighborhood of Kallithea.
At the time of the pre-dawn attack, the special guard had been in a parked car with a 26-year-old Albanian national who was seriously injured in the hail of bullets.