Police Officer Killed in Athens

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Suspected terrorists shot dead an
anti-terrorist squad police officer guarding a witness in a trial
against a Greek militant group in central Athens early Wednesday,
authorities said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack,
which occurred at about 6:20 a.m. (0320 GMT) in the residential
district of Patisia.

Greek domestic terrorist groups have stepped up attacks since
the country was struck by massive riots in December, triggered by
the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy. But Wednesday's attack
marked a severe escalation, as the vast majority of attacks so far
have been late-night bombings that have not caused any injuries.

Police said the officer had been on guard in a car in Patisia
when he came under attack by at least three gunmen who fired about
15 shots. The officer died at the scene, and television footage
showed him slumped over in the driver's seat of the vehicle shortly
after police cordoned off the area.

He had been guarding a witness in the trial of the far-left
Greek terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle, known by its
Greek acronym ELA.

Before disbanding in 1995, ELA was blamed for killing a police
officer and a Supreme Court prosecutor, as well as scores of
bombings over 20 years. More than 30 attacks were aimed at American
targets, mostly in the early 1980s, including the bombing of the
U.S. ambassador's residence, embassy vehicles, and branches of
American banks and companies.

In 2004, four people were convicted of being involved with ELA
and were sentenced to 25 years in prison. But all have appealed
their convictions.

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