Deadly central Athens gunfight

An Albanian crime suspect was killed and another two arrested during a central Athens shootout with police early yesterday in which two officers and a passer-by suffered gunshot wounds. The fight, in the densely populated Kypseli area, followed a police stakeout outside a bar on Kefallinias Street, where an Albanian suspected bank robber, Suleyman Dervis, 25, was drinking with another four Albanians. Police believe Dervis headed a gang that carried out a string of eight armed bank robberies, two of whose members have been arrested. The suspect was located late on Saturday in a bar named 65, and officers decided to arrest him when he left the establishment. According to police, as the five Albanians were leaving around 1 a.m., they saw officers closing in, drew handguns and started shooting. In the fight that ensued as the suspects fled, two policemen, Alexandros Papadimitropoulos and Spyridon Nikou, received non life-threatening injuries, while a young woman who was walking past was hit in the elbow. Irini Chryssoulaki, 24, was recovering in hospital yesterday. Albanian national Adriatik Vesso, 27, was shot dead, while another two men, Marian Dreka, 28, and Naim Kodra, 29, were arrested. Dervis and a fifth suspect managed to escape on a stolen motorbike. A Czech-made handgun was found on Vesso. Meanwhile, police on Saturday announced the arrest, on Thursday, of two Albanian suspected bank robbers in Aghia Paraskevi, northeastern Athens. Adrian Zanelli, 21, and Elton Merkouris, 20, are believed to have mounted a 30,000-euro heist on a National Bank of Greece branch in Vyronas, eastern Athens, last Monday.

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