Fugitive leader of Revolutionary Struggle arrested after Athens shootout

Nikos Maziotis arrested in central Athens

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Nikos Maziotis has been on the run since July 2012 when he broke strict conditions, including a ban on leaving the prefecture of Attica, when he was released after serving the maximum time of 18 months on remand

Nikos Maziotis (File photo) Nikos Maziotis (File photo) Nikos Maziotis, the convicted leader of the Revolutionary Struggle leftist guerrilla group who has been on the run from police for two years, was arrested in central Athens following a shootout with police shortly after noon.

Police have been seeking Maziotis since July 2012 when he broke strict conditions, including a ban on leaving the prefecture of Attica, when he was released from pre-trial custody after serving the maximum legal time of 18 months on remand.

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According to media reports, police were aware that Maziotis was in Athens and were following him in a covert operation. At 12.35, after he emerged from a shop in Monastiraki where he purchased a sports bag, police demanded that Maziotis, who was wearing a wig and glasses, surrender himself.

The reports say Maziotos then tried to flee by running towards Plaka. Police later said he shot eight rounds from USB handgun, wounding a Dias motorcycle officer in the leg. Policemen fired a single shot, wounding Maziotis in the shoulder and was apprehended.

Photographs from the scene showed him on the ground, covered in blood, outside the Alpha Bank branch at Mitropoleos 66. He was subsequency taken under tight security to Evangelismos hospital, where he is expected to undergo surgery. 

Reports also say that a young man, an Australian tourist, was shot in the foot. He has been taken to Erythros Stavros hospital but his injuries are not described as serious. Reports also say that a German tourist received injuries that required first aid. 

The wounded police officer has been taken to 401 military hospital in Athens. 

In messages posted on Facebook at 12.50pm, an eyewitness said he saw two people, one of whom was holding a weapon, being chased by police down Mitropoleos street towards Monastiraki. Near a branch of Alpha Bank, three shots were fired and a man fell to the ground. They eyewitness said he could also see another person on the ground. 

"One of them was on the ground, they put him on a stretcher and took him away. His chest was full of blood but he was alive,” the eyewitness wrote.

Revolutionary Struggle, which Maziotis leads with his partner and fellow fugitive Panayiota (Paula) Roupa, first emerged in 2003 with a bombing attack on an Athens courthouse complex. It has claimed responsibility for several car bomb hits including at the headquarters of Citibank in the northern Athens suburb of Kifisia in February 2009 and at the Athens Stock Exchange in September of that year. 

In April, it claimed responsibility for the car bombing of the central bank. The 75kg-bomb exploded hours before Greece returned to the debt markets after a four-year absence.

Police had offered €2m for information leading to the arrest of the pair.

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