Police arrest wanted guerilla after shootout in central Athens that wounded 2 tourists

Greek police officers stand next to handcuffed and seriously injured leading member of defunct militant outfit Revolutionary Struggle, Nikos Maziotis, after a shooting in central Athens, in the Monastiraki area, on July 16, 2014. The far-left extremi
Greek police officers stand next to handcuffed and seriously injured leading member of defunct militant outfit Revolutionary Struggle, Nikos Maziotis, after a shooting in central Athens, in the Monastiraki area, on July 16, 2014. The far-left extremist was was one of the country's most wanted fugitives. -- PHOTO: AFP

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police shot and wounded a prominent member of a guerilla group after a chase and gunfight in central Athens on Wednesday in which a policeman and two tourists were also wounded.

Nikos Maziotis was charged in 2010 over a series of attacks claimed by the Revolutionary Struggle group, including a rocket-propelled grenade assault on the US Embassy in Athens in 2007 and a 2009 car bomb that damaged the Athens stock exchange.

Maziotis, 42, was detained in Athens's busy shopping district in broad daylight, having been on the run since 2012. "After an exchange of fire with police, he was injured and captured," the police said, without providing further details.

Maziotis was injured in the shoulder, the Athens news agency said. The two tourists and the policeman were lightly injured.

The 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 concluded.

But after the trial began, Maziotis went on the run with his partner, also a charged member of Revolutionary Struggle. In 2013, the two were sentenced to jail in absentia. In January, the authorities offered 1 million euros (S$1.7 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.

There were no injuries but the explosion smashed windows in one of the busiest streets in the capital. The group said the attack was a protest against Greece's return to bond markets and proved the group was still active.

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