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Hostage-taker at northern Greece factory surrenders

Dozens of police officers took up position around the plastics plant on Thursday and there were reports that they might attempt to storm the premises and disarm the gunman, though he eventually surrendered.

A man who stormed a plastics factory in northern Greece from which he had been fired, shooting and wounding three people and taking another two hostage, surrendered to police around 1 a.m. on Friday morning, more than 12 hours after he walked into the premises of his former employer armed with a hunting rifle to demand his job back.

The man, who was identified as Dimitrios Manikas, aged 52, is the divorced father of two and was sacked from the Helesi plastic garbage bin manufacturing plant in Komotini last August.

He walked into the factory around 1 p.m. on Thursday wielding a hunting rifle and demanded his job back from the plant manager. When the manager refused, Manikas opened fire, injuring the 51-year-old employer in the arm and ribs and a 30-year-old Bulgarian worker in the leg. During the panic that ensued, the gunman took hostage two company drivers.

When police arrived on the scene a few minutes later after having been summoned by staff in the building, the gunman refused to hand himself over and fired his gun again, injuring one officer slightly in the hand.

The injured manager and worker managed to get away and were transferred to a local hospital where they both underwent surgery. Doctors said later that they were both stable and that their injuries were not life-threatening.

More than 12 hours later, after continued discussions with specialized police negotiators, the armed gunman released the hostages and turned himself in to authorities.

He had demanded to be paid 31,000 euros that he claimed the company still owed him in wages, as well as to be rehired by the company, at which he had worked since July 2000.

In a statement on its website, Helesi said that the Manikas had been let go in August because his behavior had been inappropriate and he had frequent run-ins with other employees.

The two hostages, aged 51 and 64, were reported to be in good health.

ekathimerini.com , Friday March 2, 2012 (02:13)  
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