NEWS

Two wounded, 2 taken hostage after shooting [Update]

An unemployed man shot and wounded three people and took two others hostage Thursday at a plastics factory in northern Greece, police said. State TV said police special forces were drawing up plans to storm the factory, but authorities have not confirmed that report.

The incident occurred in the northern town of Komotini, 800 kilometers (500 miles) northeast of Athens, at a factory that makes trash bins and other plastic products. The shooter, identified only as a 52-year-old Greek man, was fired from the factory eight months ago.

Police said he burst into the site Thursday with a shotgun, firing at the owner of the plant and a Bulgarian employee, who were both hospitalized with gunshot wounds not considered to be life threatening. A police officer also has been shot and injured in the hand.

Authorities said the two men taken hostage were company drivers.

Police said the industrial area outside Komotini, a town of some 65,000 inhabitants, had been cordoned off and that negotiators had reached the site.

Unemployment has risen rapidly since the start of Greeces financial crisis ? roughly doubling to nearly 21 percent following more than two years of austerity measures. The jobless rate is highest in the northern Macedonia and Thrace regions, at nearly 24 percent.

Pantelis Magialos, head of a labor center in Komotini, told the AP that the gunman had run out of money.

“He had been employed at the plant for several years. He was fired eight months ago and they had promised to re-hire him,» Magialos said.

“His colleagues told me that he had not eaten anything in four days.» [AP]