ATHENS — Revolutionary Struggle terrorist Nikos Maziotis, a fugitive since being released in 2012 from a pre-trial detention period, was reportedly captured in the central tourist area of Monastiraki on July 16 after a gunfight that left one police officer among four people wounded.
Greek police arrested one of the country’s most wanted men during the shootout, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear how the lunchtime shootout began in the crowded Monastiraki district, steps away from the city’s central Syntagma Square.
Photographs obtained by The Associated Press showed the suspect lying in a pool of blood on a sidewalk, before he was taken in a police-escorted ambulance to a nearby state hospital.
Police said the others wounded were a police officer and two bystanders, both foreign tourists. Witnesses at the scene told the AP that an Australian tourist was lightly wounded in the leg.
“The whole thing lasted about half an hour. We saw a lot of police running through the streets and later we heard the shots,” souvenir store employee Makis Tourounias said.
“There wasn’t much panic. Store owners and police were telling people to come indoors. But not everyone realized what was going on.”
Police said the wounded included Maziotis, who has been on the run along with his wife Panagiota Roupa since 2012. Maziotis was being treated in a central Athens hospital under heavy police guard.
Maziotis and Roupa were convicted in absentia last year and sentenced to 25 years for participation in Revolutionary Struggle, a group active between 2003 and 2009 and best known for firing a rocket-propelled grenade into the U.S. Embassy and bombing the Athens Stock Exchange. Neither of those attacks caused injuries.
In January, authorities announced a 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) reward each for information leading to their arrest.
Police said the others wounded were a police officer and two bystanders, both foreign tourists. Witnesses at the scene told The Associated Press that an Australian tourist was lightly wounded in the leg.
There were reports the gun fight erupted after a jewelry store robbery attempt in mid-afternoon in one of the country’s busiest tourist areas, when it was packed with people.
But later it was reported that police approached Maziotis as he came out of a store selling outdoor and camping equipment and asked him to surrender.
Maziotis reportedly opened fire at the police who returned the fire as the fugitive tried to flee the scene in a taxi. Police reportedly then stopped the vehicle and arrested Maziotis.
Maziotis was under tight security to Evangelismos hospital, where he is expected to undergo surgery.
An Associated Press photographer on the scene said an ambulance left the area, while witnesses said a passer-by — a tourist from Australia — was among the injured.
Police in May said they had linked Maziotis to six armed robberies that are believed to have netted him and his accomplices around 15 million euros in cash
Maziotis and Roupa have been on the run since June 2012, when they failed to attend their trial. Police believe that a total of seven people are part of the team that Maziotis has put together to rob banks.
Officers said that in all the robberies believed to have been carried out by the fugitive terrorist and his accomplices, the robbers wore bullet-proof vests and were heavily armed. It is believed that Maziotis shot and injured a policeman outside a bank in Achaia in March.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)
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