Police seek witnesses to terrorist hit

Police yesterday questioned more than 50 witnesses who had been in the central Athens district of Ano Patissia early on Wednesday when two gunmen shot dead a 41-year-old witness protection officer but reportedly failed to garner any reliable leads. Three witnesses, the resident of a ground-floor apartment in the area and two street cleaners, whose insights are believed to be useful to police, reportedly have refused to submit written statements. Officers are also trying to identify an individual who, according to certain witnesses, had been in the area shortly before the attack and may have notified the perpetrators when Nektarios Savvas was about to start his shift. Savvas, who was buried yesterday on his native Naxos, had been assigned to guard Sofia Kyriakidou, a key witness in the 2004 trial of four members of People’s Revolutionary Struggle (ELA). Ballistics tests on cartridge cases found at the scene of the shooting yesterday indicated that the second weapon used in the attack was also a 9-millimeter pistol. Unlike the first weapon identified in tests, it was not linked to any previous attacks by the militant group Sect of Revolutionaries, thought to be behind Wednesday’s hit. Meanwhile sources revealed that the head of the police’s counterterrorism unit, Dimitris Horianopoulos, and Interior Ministry general secretary Constantinos Bitsios had been due to travel to London for talks with British officers at Scotland Yard about Greece’s resurgent domestic terrorism problem. The visit was canceled following the anti-terror officer’s death. In a related development yesterday, a convicted member of ELA, Costas Agapiou, died of cancer at the age of 62. Sentenced to 25 years in prison for his involvement in ELA, he was released in January 2008 on grounds of ill health after serving three years of his sentence.