NEWS

In Brief

RANTISI ASSASSINATION

Greece slams Hamas leader’s killing The Foreign Ministry yesterday strongly condemned the assassination on Saturday, by the Israeli armed forces, of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, leader of the Palestinian Hamas group. «We condemn the illegal execution of Abdel Aziz al Rantisi as an act of violence that runs against the principle of the rule of the law,» spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. «We oppose all acts of violence that undermine efforts to establish peace in the area and to attain a just and viable solution to the Palestinian problem.» Rantisi, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and two bodyguards were killed by missiles fired from an Israeli helicopter as they rode in his car near his home in Gaza City. The Greek Communist Party and Synaspismos Left Coalition also condemned the killing. Contract workers A draft presidential decree that will grant permanent civil servant status to over 200,000 Greeks employed in the public sector on short-term contracts will be presented to labor unions this week, the government said yesterday. Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos said the decree – a major electoral promise – would apply to all contract workers, provided they cover «constant needs.» Chtenas trial The trial of a northern Greek businessman accused of staging a twin bank robbery in Eleftheroupolis, near the town of Kavala, is due to start today in a Komotini court. Andreas Chtenas, 46 – who was extradited from Turkey, where he sought refuge after being shot during the heists – is accused of robbery and attempted murder. His wife and 25-year-old son will also appear on the dock, as well as four Albanians allegedly hired by the Kavala businessman for the double robbery. Holocaust The Israeli Community in Athens yesterday held a ceremony at the Jewish cemetery in Nikaia in memory of the estimated 6 million Jews killed by Nazi forces during World War II. Several Cabinet ministers attended.