Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 11:35 UK

Policeman shot dead in Greece


Police at the scene of the shooting

Gunmen have shot dead a policeman in an early morning attack in the Greek capital, Athens.

The officer was hit many times as he sat in a car on guard duty outside the home of a witness in a terrorism trial.

The trial involves a now-defunct left-wing group known as the Revolutionary People's Struggle.

Officials say no attempt was made by the unidentified attackers to approach the home of the witness. Reports say there were at least two gunmen.

There have been a number of acts of violence blamed on left-wing and anarchist groups since the killing of a 15-year-old boy by police in December.

That incident sparked the worst riots in Greece for many years.

Multiple gunshots

The coroner, Philippos Koutsaftis, said the 41-year-old policeman shot on Wednesday was carrying a holstered firearm.

"He was hit many times by shots that appear to have been fired at close range," Mr Koutsaftis said.

A police spokesman, Panagiotis Stathis, said the victim had been shot with "at least 15 to 20 bullets".

Police say the attackers disappeared into the streets of the Patissia district and a hunt was launched in the area to try to find them.

The left-wing group at the centre of the trial, the Revolutionary People's Struggle - or ELA - was blamed for many attacks in Greece over a 20-year period, before disbanding in the mid-1990s.

The attack was similar to one claimed by another left-wing group in January. On that occasion, the officer targeted survived.

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