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Greek Bus With 26 on Board Hijacked

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Greek Bus With 26 on Board Hijacked

By DEREK GATOPOULOS, Associated Press Writer

ATHENS, Greece - A Greek bus with 26 people aboard was hijacked Wednesday by two men, reportedly Russians, who demanded to be taken to Athens airport, police and government officials said.

One of the hijackers told a Greek television station he wanted to go to Russia, while state-run NET television said representatives of the Russian embassy were on the scene.

Government officials confirmed the two men were demanding a driver to take them to the airport but could not confirm they were Russian. A police announcement said they "are foreigners."

It was initially reported that the hijackers were Albanian. There are hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in Greece, including many from Albania and the former Soviet Union.

Police said there were 26 passengers and two hijackers aboard the bus. The blue bus was surrounded by police and ambulances at a stop about 10 miles from the city center on the outskirts of eastern Athens.

Police said the bus was hijacked at 5:50 a.m. when two armed men entered the bus and fired shots into the roof of the vehicle. At least two shots had been fired at police who arrived at the scene, while several shots have been heard from inside the bus since.

The bus driver, a ticket collector and another passenger managed to escape.

Black-clad police special forces, some carrying armored shields, were crouching near the bus. Snipers were on nearby rooftops.

The hijackers were armed with at least one shotgun but also claimed to be have explosives.

"Tell them to move the van from in front of us or we will blow up the bus," the man said in Greek to Athens' Alpha television station. He had a slight accent. "Tell them to get all the police way from here. "We want to go to the airport and fly to Russia. All passengers will get off there. We haven't harmed anyone, but if the driver is delayed I said that I will strike."

Except for the demand to be taken to the airport, it was unclear why the men hijacked the bus.

Police parked a van in front of the bus to prevent it from driving away. Police negotiators were on the scene, police said.

The hijacking was a first test for a Greek police force that underwent intensive training to deal with such situations during the Olympic Games (news - web sites).

Greek police have dealt with similar situations in the past.

In May 1999 an Albanian immigrant demanding ransom hijacked a bus and took it to Albania. A rescue operation by Albanian police killed the hijacker and a passenger.

Two months later, another Albanian immigrant hijacked a bus with similar demands. He was killed by a police sniper.

In November 2000, a Greek hijacked a busload of Japanese tourists and released them after negotiations with police. He later died after jumping out of a seventh-story window at police headquarters.


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oh no that is terrible i hope the hijackers get caught.

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That's terrible ohmy.gif One could have thought that the country would have been bit safer after november17 terrorists were trialed and sent for prison for this and any possible future lives. Athens certainly isn't safe anymore. Hijacks, robberies, serial-rapist on the lose (was at least a week ago). sad.gifunsure.gif

Edit: Just thought to add this.. Are these the stupidest hijackers ever or is there something else behind this? Sure they can't imagine that they would ever be taken to airport. I mean men, who have hijacked a bus, and claim they have explosives and at least they have firearms, would anyone ever take a risk to take them to international airport?!?! and then what? they'd hijack a plane? no.gif ain't gonna happen...

Edited by CatAstrofix

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