ATHENS — The Greek Defense Ministry says three soldiers have been killed and one was seriously wounded in a mortar-tube explosion at an army firing range in central Greece.
The ministry statement, read out in state television, said the incident occurred Oct. 7th near the city of Volos, about 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Athens, when an 81-millimeter mortar shell exploded in the barrel, killing two professional soldiers and a third serving his national service.
The ministry said three days of mourning had been declared for the armed forces while senior ministry officials were going to firing range to lead an investigation.
Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos asked the head of Greece’s armed forces to determine what caused the blast and said there would be an investigation into how it happened.
Two professional soldiers, 33-year-old Giorgos Orfanidis and 34-year-old Anastasios Mezalas, were killed instantly along with 19-year-old Fotios Andrikopoulos, who was doing his military service.
A third soldier, aged 30 and identified only as K.V., sustained stomach injuries and was transferred to a Volos hospital where doctors said his injuries were serious but not life-threatening.
Avramapoulos said there would be three days of mourning in the armed forces and said he would announce the results of the probe as soon as they are available.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)