Cash guards hit during shootout

Two security guards were hospitalized yesterday after four would-be robbers opened fire on their cash-loaded vehicle with Kalashnikov assault rifles near a busy Athens junction, police said. The motorcycle-borne assailants surrounded the armored van near the junction of Kifissou and Athinon streets in Peristeri shortly after 11 a.m. and fired 36 shots, piercing the vehicle and hitting one of the guards in the stomach and the other in the legs, according to police. Despite their injuries, which were not serious, the guards fired back at the assailants, who fled empty-handed. The van had been on its way to the security firm’s headquarters, loaded with cash from collections earlier that morning, the manager of the Ermis security firm told police. Officers believe the assailants may have carried out a similar attack on Ermis staff last month in Nikaia. Meanwhile, an armed duo fled with 350,000 euros from a branch of Emporiki Bank in Pangrati following a bloodless raid.