Members of a Special Police unit secure an area following
the shootout in central Athens. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Greek police shot and wounded one of Greece's most wanted
guerrilla group members in a chase through central Athens in
which a policeman and two tourists were also hurt.
Nikos Maziotis was charged in 2010 over a series of attacks
claimed by the Revolutionary Struggle group, including firing
a rocket propelled grenade at the U.S. embassy in Athens in
2007 and a 2009 car bomb that damaged the Athens stock
"His arrest is undoubtedly a very big success," Public Order
Minister Vassilis Kikilias told a news conference broadcast
live on Greek television.
Maziotis had been on the run since 2012. Anti-terrorism
police had deployed agents in places he was believed to
frequent and he was spotted as he was entering an outdoor
equipment shop in central Athens, police said.
Maziotis, 42, was eventually caught in the city's shopping
district after a chase through three crowded blocks in the
tourist area of Monastiraki at the foot of the Acropolis.
He fired eight times at the policemen chasing him and
received one shot back, police chief Dimitrios Tsaknakis
Media showed a photograph of Maziotis - who was wearing a wig
and carried a fake ID when arrested - lying on the ground,
drenched in blood and handcuffed.
He was shot in the shoulder and underwent surgery at an
Athens hospital but his life is not in danger, Health
Minister Makis Voridis told reporters.
A policeman was injured in the leg during the shootout,
Voridis said. A 19-year-old Australian tourist sitting in a
nearby restaurant was injured by a bullet splinter in his
ankle and a German tourist was lightly hurt, but not
Police were looking for a second suspect, a police official
told Reuters, declining to be named.
After spending the maximum period of 18 months in pre-trial
detention, Maziotis was released in 2012 with orders to
regularly appear at a police station until his trial
But after the trial began, Maziotis went on the run with his
partner, also a member of the Revolutionary Struggle. In 2013
the two were sentenced to jail in absentia. In January,
authorities offered 1 million euros ($1.35 million) for help
in his capture.
Revolutionary Struggle was set up in 2003 and declared war on
all forms of government. It later said it was protesting
against austerity measures imposed during Greece's financial
crisis that forced thousands out of work and plunged the
economy into a deep recession.
The group had been considered dismantled in 2010, but in
April it claimed a car bombing at a central bank building,
which came hours before Greece tapped bond markets for the
first time since its EU/IMF bailout began four years ago.
The group said the attack was a protest against Greece's
return to bond markets. There were no injuries.